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US Diplomats Targeted by Bombers in Pakistan

- Common Dreams staff

A US consulate vehicle in Pakistan was the target of a suicide car bomb on Monday, killing at least four people in the deadliest attack targeting Americans for two years in the country's ongoing entanglement with the US/NATO war in neighboring Afghanistan.

Rescue worker survey a damaged vehicle after it was hit during a bomb attack in Peshawar September 3, 2012. Two Americans working for the U.S. consulate were wounded in a bomb attack on their vehicle in the Pakistani city of Peshawar on Monday, the American embassy said. (Credit: Reuters/Khuram Parvez) Reports indicate that nearly 20 people were injured the attack, which took place in the city of Peshawar and nearby the office of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and residential quarters used by the US consulate.

The US embassy in Pakistan confirmed that two US consulate employees were among the wounded.

"We can confirm that a vehicle belonging to the U.S. consulate in Peshawar was hit in an apparent terrorist attack," the U.S. embassy said in its statement.

"Two U.S. personnel and two Pakistani staff of the Consulate were injured and are receiving medical treatment."

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but Mian Iftikhar Hussain, information minister for Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, told Agence France-Presse that the bombing was "a dangerous move from the terrorists", and said that "they want to terrorise the foreigners".

AFP adds:

Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militant groups who are sworn enemies of the United States frequently carry out attacks and have strongholds in the nearby tribal belt.

They have vowed to avenge American drone strikes targeting Islamist militants in Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal areas and thwart a rumoured prospective Pakistani offensive in North Waziristan.

Although Islamabad is an ally of Washington, relations dramatically worsened after a CIA contractor killed two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore and US special forces found and killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan last year. [...]

The United States heads around 130,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan but is preparing to hand over security responsibility to Afghans by the end of 2014.

Anti-American sentiment in Pakistan has increased since Islamabad agreed in July to end a seven-month blockade on NATO goods crossing into Afghanistan. The blockade was imposed after botched US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last November.

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