Blast in Pakistan kills 22, injures 80
The explosion in a vegetable market outside Islamabad comes during peace talks between the Taliban and the Pakistani government. (photo courtesy: www.presstv.ir.com)
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A high-intensity explosion killed at least 22 people and injured more than 80 Wednesday morning when a bomb was detonated at a fruit and vegetable market outside Islamabad.
Pakistani police estimate 11 pounds of explosives were used in the attack, hidden in crates of guava
fruit that came to the marketplace from different cities.
"It's an act of terror," Islamabad Police Chief Khalid Khattak stated. "At the time of the blast, around 2,000 people were present in the market." The 22 killed and 80 injured included fruit sellers, shoppers, and laborers.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes as the Pakistani government is engaged in peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban.
Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid denied the Taliban's involvement and condemned the attack.
It is possible, retired Brig. Gen. Mahmood Shah said, "that the Taliban could carry out such attacks, which they would disown later, to build pressure on the government." If that was the case with Wednesday's market attack, "then the damage would be very serious," and similar attacks "could derail the whole process of negotiations" between the Taliban and the government.