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Pakistan Violence Leaves At Least 22 Dead


Many Killed In Blast In Pakistan's Khyber Region
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PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- Violence in Pakistan has left at least 22 people dead, with a bombing in the northwest tribal region, a Taliban attack on Pakistani soldiers, and a shooting apparently related to sectarian problems in the southwest.

A car bomb in Jamrud in the Khyber Agency on December 17 killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens of others standing near a bus stop.

A witness, Abdul Malak, described the carnage to RFE/RL.

"The blast came with a bang and dark [smoke] spread around, and people started running. I did not know much, as fear gripped me," Malak said. "We saw a few boys some of whom lost their arms and others lost their feet. They were being transported to hospital by a vehicle."

Another witness, Fazle Amin, said the noise from the explosion was deafening.

"There was a bang all of a sudden. I saw only fire and nothing else. We brought out dead and injured with our own hands," Amin said. "The fire is there, several vehicles were burned and we are still half-deaf from the sound."

Sameen Jan Shinwari, a doctor at the Jamrud hospital, said at least four of those killed were women from Afghanistan, whose passports were found at the scene.

Shinwari said a 5-year-old Afghan girl and two Pakistani boys, both 6 years old, were also killed in the explosion.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

In Pakistan's northeastern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, militants attacked a military vehicle on December 17, killing three soldiers and wounding four others.

Local officials told RFE/RL the ambush occurred in the Lakki Marwat district.

Militants reportedly fired rockets at the vehicle.

A person calling himself Asimullah Mehsud called RFE/RL claiming to be a spokesman for Tehrik-e Taliban (TTP) and said the group was responsible for the attack.

TTP militants have been active in the region for years.

Sectarian Shooting

In the southern city of Quetta, gunmen killed a provincial government spokesman and two police officers.

The attackers shot dead Khadim Hussain Noori on December 17 as he was parking his car in the capital of Balochistan Province.

The 56-year-old official was a Shi'ite Muslim. A local police chief told the AFP news agency that Noori was apparently targeted because of his religion.

The authorities say the gunmen killed two policemen and wounded a third as they sped away on a motorcycle.

So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The area has experienced a spike in sectarian killings in the past year as radical Sunni Muslims have targeted Shi'a.

The province is also the scene of a decades-long insurgency by Baluch nationalists, who demand greater autonomy and a larger share of profits from the region's oil, gas, and mineral resources.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AP

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