Islamabad: More than 80 people were killed and over a 100 injured yesterday in twin suicide bomb attacks outside the training centre of a paramilitary force in northwest Pakistan in an attack believed to avenge the death of Al Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden.
The Pakistan Taliban, who claimed responsibility for the attack, said it was in ‘revenge' for the killing of Bin Laden by US special forces in Abbottabad last week.
Officials said the back-to-back bombings targeted Frontier Constabulary (FC) recruits boarding vehicles to proceed on leave after completion of their training at the Shabqadar Fort training facility in Charsadda district, 30 kilometres north of Peshawar, in Khyber Pakthunkhwa province.
FC officials and senior provincial minister Bashir Bilour confirmed that around 70 recruits of the paramilitary force were among the dead and the injured also included many personnel. A passing-out parade of hundreds of recruits was held at the centre a week ago.
Charsadda police chief Nisar Marwat said the explosions wrecked more than a dozen vehicles and also damaged shops in a nearby bazaar near the training centre. He said eight to 10 kilogrammes of explosives were used in the attacks. Those critically injured were taken to a hospital in Peshawar.
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, who is in Moscow on an official visit, and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani strongly condemned the attack, and vowed to carry on the fight against terrorism until it is completely eliminated. The Shabqadar massacre coincided with a secret session of the parliament in Islamabad for a briefing by defence authorities over the Abbottabad raid by the US forces.