Bomb kills 13 at Pakistani bus station

PESHAWAR, Pakistan Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:15pm IST

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - A bomb exploded at a bus station in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Thursday killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens, police and emergency service officials said.

"The bomb was planted in a car at the station, and around 40 kilogrammes of explosives were used," police official Shafqat Malik told reporters.

There have been numerous bombings in Peshawar, capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, since the Pakistani military stepped up operations against militant groups in 2007.

Thursday's bombing targeted one of Peshawar's busiest areas. Police and emergency officials said the death toll was expected to rise as there was a rush of passengers when the bomb exploded, and many of the wounded were in critical condition.

Peshawar borders Pakistan's semi-autonomous ethnic Pashtun regions along the Afghan border where Islamist militants have found refuge despite a series of military offensives over the past few years.

The Pakistani Taliban, the Afghan Taliban, al Qaeda and affiliated militant groups are entrenched in frontier regions, and take advantage of the porous border to launch attacks against NATO and Afghan government forces in Afghanistan.

(Reporting by Jibran Ahmad; Writing by Qasim Nauman; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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