At least 20 people were killed and 50 injured when a bomb concealed in a carton of veggies ripped through a crowded market in Pakistan’s restive northwestern tribal area Friday, officials said.
The assault happened during the regular Friday bazaar at Kalaya, a city in a Shiite-dominated region of Orakzai tribal district, senior regional official Khalid Iqbal told AFP.
“In accordance with our initial evaluation, it was an improvised explosive device concealed in a carton of veggies,” he explained.
Another official, Ali Jan, supported the cost.
Orakzai is among seven restive semi-autonomous tribal areas in the Afghan border, an area which has long been a focus in the international war on terror and has been famously described by Barack Obama as “the most dangerous spot on earth”.
Washington has insisted the inland region offers secure havens to militants such as the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda — an allegation which Islamabad denies.
Pakistan, which combined the US war on terror in 2001, says it’s paid the cost for its alliance.
It’s been battling Islamist groups in the tribal belt since 2004, following its military entered the area to look for Al-Qaeda fighters who had fled throughout the border after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.
Multiple damn army operations are completed in the region, formally called the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and house to about five million ethnic Pashtuns.
Safety has improved in the area in the past few decades, though lower-level strikes continue to be carried out with catastrophic regularity, frequently targeting Shiites from the region.
Nonetheless, it remains notorious for its availability of inexpensive firearms and smuggled products, together with narcotics such as hashish and opium developed in the FATA and neighbouring Afghanistan.
Residents also complain of undue harassment by security forces, mentioning disappearances and extrajudicial killings.
Before this season Pakistan passed laws that paves the way for its tribal regions to be merged into neighbouring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa state, bringing them into the political mainstream.
The move will inflict the Pakistani judicial procedure onto a region still loosely dominated by British colonial-era laws along with the tribal method of honor, and which has always existed on the fringes of this state.