Taliban car bomb targets US convoy in Pakistan

THE Taliban has bombed a US consulate convoy in Peshawar, killing one person and wounding 11 others in the first attack on Americans in Pakistan since Osama bin Laden’s death.

A US embassy spokesman said no US personnel were seriously wounded in the rush-hour attack in the volatile northwestern city, which runs into the tribal belt that Washington has branded a global headquarters of al-Qa’ida.

Police said two foreigners were lightly wounded. One of two armoured vehicles was damaged by what a bomb disposal official said was 50 kilos of low-grade explosives packed into a car and detonated by remote-control.

“Two vehicles of the US consulate were on their way to the consulate when they were attacked,” US embassy spokesman Alberto Rodriguez said.

“One vehicle was damaged. There is no death among our personnel and there are no serious injuries.

“Only one car was hit. In that car there were US citizen diplomats and a Pakistani driver,” he said.

Witnesses said the US consulate car skidded off the road after the blast, which happened at around 8.25am (12.25pm AEST), and smashed into an electricity pylon on a pedestrian footpath.

Senior officer Liaquat Ali said a local man riding on a motorbike was killed and 11 others wounded, including two foreigners who received “minor injuries”.

The bomb gouged a foot-deep crater out of the roadside, cracked the front wall of a nearby house and shattered the windows in two others.

A private car was partially damaged and the motorbike of the one person who was killed was flung about four metres from the blast site.

Hukam Khan, in charge of the bomb disposal squad in Peshawar, said the 50 kilos of explosives were planted in a car before being detonated.

“They were not good quality explosives, that’s why there was relatively little damage,” he said.

The Pakistani Taliban swiftly claimed responsibility, threatening further attacks against Western targets and indicating that the blast was to avenge the killing of Bin Laden on May 2 by US Navy SEALs.

“Our first enemy is Pakistan, then the United States and after that, other NATO countries,” spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said.

“Osama was our leader and America is the biggest terrorist,” the spokesman said, adding: “We will inflict such losses that Americans would never forget.”

Friday’s attack came exactly a week after the Taliban claimed a devastating bomb attack that killed 98 people outside a police training centre in the northwest as the first revenge for the al-Qa’ida supremo’s death.

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