Suicide blasts kill 40 in Pakistan's northwest

Mon Dec 6, 2010 4:15pm GMT

By Aizaz Mohmand

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Suspected Taliban suicide bombers killed at least 40 people at the office compound of a government official in northwest Pakistan on Monday, demonstrating the ability of militants to strike high-profile targets in defiance of army offensives.

"There were two bombers. They were on foot. The first blew himself up inside the office of one of my deputies while the second one set off explosives when guards caught him," said Amjad Ali Khan, the top government official in Mohmand region, who appeared to be the target of the attack.

They were dressed in paramilitary uniforms, he said.

Pakistan's army has said several offensives it has launched since last year have weakened al Qaeda-linked Pakistani Taliban militants.

"Whenever you put pressure on them, they fight back and this phenomenon will not be over in days. They will strike whenever they will get a chance," said Mehmood Shah, former chief of security in Pakistan's tribal regions, home to some of the world's most dangerous militant groups.

The dead in the suicide bombings in Mohmand's main town of Ghalanai included two Pakistani television journalists.

Hospital officials said 60 people were wounded in the attack in Mohmand, one of the lawless ethnic Pashtun tribal regions in Pakistan's northwest.

"I entered the compound. I heard a blast. I fell down, got up and then another explosion happened," said witness Ishtiaq Ahmed, from his hospital bed in the city of Peshawar.   Continued...

<p>Men help clear the rubble from the site of a suicide bombing in Pakistan's northwest Mohmand region December 6, 2010. REUTERS/Umar Qayyum</p>
Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.