11 killed after suicide bomber targets police checkpoint in Pakistan
Pakistani fire fighters try to extinguish a vehicle on fire following a suicide blast, in Peshawar, Pakistan on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. (AP / Mohammad Sajjad)
Riaz Khan, The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, January 19, 2016 3:28AM EST
PESHAWAR, Pakistan - A suicide bomber riding a motorcycle struck a crowded police checkpoint on the outskirts of the Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing 11 people in an attack claimed by the Taliban.
Another 21 people were wounded in the blast, which took place on a road leading to neighbouring Afghanistan, police official Iqbal Khan said. Peshawar is on the edge of Pakistan's volatile tribal regions, a stronghold of the Taliban and other Islamic militants.
Khan said the dead include four police and seven civilians, including two children and a local journalist, Mahboob Shah Afridi, who was president of Tribal Union of Journalists in the neighbouring Khyber region.
A local Pakistani Taliban commander, Maqbool Dawar, claimed the attack, which took place as a local police chief arrived at the checkpoint. Dawar said it was in response to the killing of his comrades by security forces.
Nisar Khan, who was waiting to cross the road, said the checkpoint was choked with traffic at the time of the attack. He said the huge blast left vehicles in flames and that he saw wounded people in pools of blood crying out for help.
Militant violence has declined since Pakistan launched a wide-ranging military offensive in North Waziristan, a tribal region along the border with Afghanistan, in the summer of 2014.
But the Taliban have still managed to carry out major attacks, including an assault on an army-run school in Peshawar in December 2014 that killed over 150 people, mostly children.
Associated Press writer Ishtiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan contributed to this report.