Scores killed as Pakistan bomb greets Clinton

A suspected Taliban car bomb exploded in a Pakistan market today killing more than 90 people, mostly women and children, as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived to pledge support for the campaign against Islamist militants.

More than 200 people were wounded in the blast in the main north-western city of Peshawar, the deadliest in a series of attacks by suspected this month.



The government blamed militants seeking to avenge an army offensive launched this month against al Qaida and Taliban in their stronghold close to the Afghan border.



The bomb destroyed much of the Mina Bazaar in Peshawar's old town, a warren of narrow alleys clogged with stalls and shops selling dresses, toys and cheap jewellery that drew many female shoppers and children.



It collapsed buildings, including a mosque, and set scores of shops ablaze. The wounded sat amid burning debris and parts of bodies as a huge plume of grey smoke rose above the city.



Crying for help, men tried to pull survivors from beneath wreckage. One man carried away a baby with a bloody face and a group of men rescued a young boy covered in dust, but others found only bodies of the dead. A two-storey building collapsed as firefighters doused it with water, triggering more panic.



Mrs Clinton, on her first visit to Pakistan as secretary of state, was a three-hour drive away in the capital, Islamabad, when the blast took place. She praised the army's anti-Taliban offensive in South Waziristan and offered support.



"I want you to know this fight is not Pakistan's alone," she said. "These extremists are committed to destroying what is dear to us as much as they are committed to destroying that which is dear to you and to all people. So this is our struggle as well."



Standing beside her, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the violence would not break his government's will to fight back.



"The resolve and determination will not be shaken," Qureshi said. "People are carrying out such heinous crimes - they want to shake our resolve. I want to address them: We will not buckle. We will fight you. We will fight you because we want peace and stability in Pakistan."



Peshawar, the economic hub of the north-west and the seat of the provincial government, has long been a favourite target of militants who control large parts of territory to the north in tribal regions near the Afghanistan border. Extremism has flourished there since it was used as a staging ground in the 1980s for US-funded fighters preparing to battle the Soviet-installed regime in Afghanistan.



No group claimed responsibility for the bombing, but that is not unusual, especially when the victims are Pakistani civilians. Sahib Gul, a doctor at a nearby hospital, said 91 people were killed and more than 200 injured. He said 60 of the dead were either women or children.



Three bombs have exploded in Peshawar this month, including one that killed more than 50 people. They are part of at least 10 major attacks in Pakistan that have killed 250 people either claimed by or blamed on Taliban militants.



Most have targeted security forces, but some bombs have gone off in public places, apparently to undercut support for the army's assault on the border and expose the weakness of the government.



The Taliban have warned Pakistan that they would stage more attacks if the army does not end its ground offensive in the South Waziristan tribal region, where the military has sent 30,000 troops to flush out insurgents. South Waziristan is a major base for the Pakistani Taliban and other foreign militants.

Suggested Topics
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...

MANCHESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION -

Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?