PESHAWAR: At least 10 people were killed and over 20 wounded when a bomb exploded near a security checkpost situated close to the Karkhano Market area here on Tuesday, rescue officials said.
Most of the dead include personnel from the Khyber Khasadar Force, rescue sources said. Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Fazlullah group claimed responsibility for the attack.
The blast, which targeted a vehicle of the Khasadar Force, also killed the Assistant Line Officer Nawabshah and president of the Tribal Union of Journalists Mehmoob Shah.
"Although the exact nature of the blast is being ascertained, it appears to be a suicide attack," said political agent Khyber Agency Shahab Ali Shah.
He said 10 people were confirmed to have died in the blast that targeted Khasadar personnel.
The explosion occurred in Khyber Agency's Jamrud area, near Karkhano, said Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Mubarak Zeb Khan. Karkhano is the gateway to Peshawar from the tribal belt.
According to initial reports, the exact nature of the blast could not yet be ascertained. However, eyewitnesses at the site claimed that the explosion was a suicide blast.
TV footage of the blast showed vehicles parked near the blast site caught fire after the explosion. The site was cordoned off.
An emergency was imposed at Hayatabad Medical Complex.
No one has claimed responsibility for the blast so far.
AFP adds: Toheed Zulfiqar, a public relations officer at Hayatabad Medical Complex, said the dead included a seven-year-old and six of the injured were in serious condition.
Khyber is part of Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt on the Afghan border. The area is known to have been a militant stronghold in the past.
Pakistan suffers frequent bomb and suicide attacks blamed on extremist militant groups and troops have for years been fighting homegrown armed groups in the tribal belt.
Pakistani security forces have carried out ground offensives in Khyber Agency, particularly the Tirah Valley of Bara which borders Nazyan.
The forces cleared much of the Bara plain in Operation Khyber One launched in October 2014 while in a follow-on operation named Khyber-2 cleared the fierce Tirah terrain consisting of deep valleys and high mountains.
Zarb-i-Azb, a military offensive launched in North Waziristan in 2014 following a brazen militant attack on Karachi's international airport, is also currently in its last stages.
The number of attacks in Pakistan fell around 70 per cent in 2015, due to a combination of a military offensive against Taliban bases along the Afghan border and government initiatives to tackle militancy.