South Asia

Pakistan suicide blasts 'kill more than 100'

The death toll in a double suicide bombing in a Pakistani tribal village on the border with Afghanistan has risen to more than 100, officials say.

Two bombers struck seconds apart in Yakaghund village in the Mohmand tribal region, devastating government buildings, shops and houses.

Mohmand is part of Pakistan's tribal regions where the Taliban and al-Qaeda have a strong presence.

A Taliban spokesman said they claimed responsibility for the attack.

Ikramullah Mohmand said their target was a meeting of local officials and anti-Taliban elders from the Anbar Utmankhel tribe.

Initial reports put the death toll at about 50 and said one bomber was responsible.

However, officials later said that at least 102 had died and more than 115 were wounded. More bodies were recovered from wrecked buildings and others had died from their injuries in hospital.

One of the bombers was on a motorcycle and it is believed the other was driving a vehicle laden with explosives.

The blasts happened near the office of local administrator Rasool Khan, who escaped unharmed.

Tribal elders were in the building but were unhurt, according to Mohmand chief administrator Amjad Ali Khan.

He said the attack signified "increasing desperation" on the part of the Taliban, whose "space is being restricted by security forces".

One of the explosions also damaged the wall of a prison allowing some inmates to escape, although none of them were militants, said Rasool Khan.

Witnesses said the dead and injured included women and children.

Abdul Wadood, 19, had been sitting in a vehicle when the bombs exploded and suffered head and arm injuries.

"I only heard the deafening blast and lost consciousness," he said.

"I found myself on a hospital bed after opening my eyes. I think those who planned or carried out this attack are not humans."

Those seriously injured in the blasts were taken to hospital in Peshawar, about 15 miles (25km) away.

Mohmand has been the scene of heavy fighting between Pakistani security forces and the Taliban.

The region borders Afghanistan's Kunar province and the Bajaur tribal region of Pakistan, both of which are staging grounds for the Taliban.

However, the bombings in Yakaghund are the first major attack against a civilian target in Mohmand region, and only the second in which a suicide bomber has been involved, says the BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad.

In early 2009, a suspected suicide bomber targeted a military check-point in the Nahaqai area of Mohmand, but he was the only casualty.

Operations by the military over the past two years have confined the militants to areas close to the Afghan border, our correspondent says.