Taliban Denies Involvement in Pakistan Bombings

Posted June 12th, 2011 at 12:25 pm (UTC-5)
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The Taliban has denied responsibility for twin bombings at a crowded market in Pakistan's Peshawar city that killed at least 35 people and wounded more than 100 others late Saturday.

A Taliban spokesman (Ehsanullah Ehsan) called reporters Sunday in the North Waziristan tribal region to deny involvement. He said, “We do not target civilians and mosques. Our targets are security forces fighting with the United States.”

The attack, one of the deadliest in weeks, devastated the upscale Khyber Supermarket district. Police say 25 people have been detained for questioning in the attack, and that 50 people remained hospitalized from the blasts. Authorities also say their investigation shows both bombs were triggered by remote control.

Witnesses say a restaurant and several adjoining shops were heavily damaged in the blasts, which also triggered a huge fire in the market. The blasts caused power outages that forced police and rescue personnel to work in the dark.

The first blast was relatively small and drew police, rescue workers and onlookers to the site. Minutes later, a large explosion rocked the area, causing the casualties.

The bombings came hours after Afghan President Hamid Karzai and U.S. CIA Director Leon Panetta visited Islamabad. Mr. Karzai called on Pakistan to eradicate militant safe havens from tribal areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border, while Panetta discussed ways to strengthen future intelligence sharing.

A Pakistan official says terrorism is on the rise because of the increasing “distrust” among Pakistan, Afghanistan and the U.S.