- POSTED: 27 Sep 2013 17:26
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A bomb exploded on a bus carrying government employees in restive northwest Pakistan killing at least 17 people on Friday, officials said.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan: A bomb exploded on a bus carrying government employees in restive northwest Pakistan killing at least 17 people on Friday, officials said.
The incident happened in Peshawar, the main city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which has been hit by numerous bomb and gun attacks blamed on Taliban insurgents in recent years.
"The bomb was planted inside the bus. At the moment, the death of 17 people have been confirmed," Zahirul Islam, deputy commissioner of Peshawar, told AFP.
Nasir Durrani, the police chief of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, told reporters the remote-controlled bomb was planted at the back of the bus, which was taking government staff home to the town of Charsadda after work.
Durrani confirmed that 17 people have been killed and 43 wounded.
An eyewitness speaking on GEO news channel said the blast was so powerful it threw victims' bodies clear of the vehicle and onto the roadside.
Footage showed the back of the bus reduced to a tangle of twisted metal by the force of the explosion.
Nine dead bodies have been taken to Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar while eight bodies have been taken to a government hospital in Charsadda.
The target was government employees, Sahibzada Mohammad Anis, the commissioner of Peshawar, told AFP.
Peshawar lies close to Pakistan's lawless tribal districts along the Afghan border, which are a haven for Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants.
The umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) faction has led a bloody campaign against the Pakistani state in recent years, carrying out hundreds of attacks on security forces and government targets.
Two weeks ago, Pakistan's main political parties backed the idea of peace talks with the militants, floated several times by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
But a series of attacks since then, including the killing of a senior army commander and a double suicide bombing on a Peshawar church that killed 82, have led many to question the strategy.
The TTP has denied it was behind the church bombing, but peace agreements with them in the past have quickly fallen apart.