Suicide bombers attack anti-Taliban meeting

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The Independent Online

Two suicide bombers disguised as policemen killed 50 people at an anti-Taliban tribal meeting in Pakistan today.

The attack on the main government compound in Mohmand was the latest strike against local tribesmen who have been encouraged by the government to oppose the Taliban.



The explosions also wounded more than 100 people, many of them critically.



The attacks were extra deadly because the bombers had filled their suicide jackets with bullets.



Amjad Ali Khan, the top political official in Mohmand, who was at the compound in Ghalanai town when it was attacked, said: "These bullets killed everyone who was hit."



Both bombers were disguised in tribal police uniforms.



One of the wounded in the attack was 45-year-old Qalandar Khan, who came to the compound to visit an imprisoned cousin and was hit by the second explosion.



"There was a deafening sound and it caused a cloud of dust and smoke and a subsequent hue and cry," said Mr Khan from a hospital bed.



"There were dozens on the ground like me, bleeding and crying. I saw body parts scattered in the compound."



The dead and wounded included tribal elders, police, political officials and other civilians. Two of the dead were local TV journalists.



The Pakistani army has carried out operations in Mohmand to battle Taliban and al Qaida fighters in the area, but it has been unable to defeat the militants.



The military has encouraged local tribesmen to form militias to oppose the militants. The groups have had varying degrees of success and have often been targeted in deadly attacks.



A suicide bomber attacked a mosque in north-western Pakistan in early November used by elders opposed to the Pakistani Taliban, killing 67 people. The attack occurred in the town of Darra Adam Khel, a militant stronghold on the edge of the tribal region.

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