At least seven dead after bomb blast in Northwestern Pakistan
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
According to reports, at least eight people, including three United States military personnel and four schoolgirls, were killed earlier today by a roadside bomb near a girls' school in north-western Pakistan. Another 62 were injured. The incident occurred in a village in the Lower Dir district, near Swat Valley.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the US troops were travelling to the area in a convoy to attend the opening ceremony of the school for girls when the explosion occurred.
In a statement, the US embassy in Pakistan commented that "three Americans were killed and two injured in a terrorist bomb explosion at about 11:20am today in the Lower Dir district of Pakistan’s federally-administered tribal areas.
"The Americans were US military personnel in Pakistan to conduct training at the invitation of the Pakistan Frontier Corps. They were in Lower Dir to attend the inauguration ceremony of a school for girls that had recently been renovated with US humanitarian assistance," it added.
Mohammed Wakeel, the chief doctor at the local hospital, confirmed that some of the dead were schoolgirls, saying: "We have four dead bodies [in the hospital]. They are schoolgirls aged ten to fifteen. We have received 65 injured; most of them are girls."
Rema Bibi, a sixth-grader, was in the school when the explosion happened. She recalled her experiences, stating that "We were all busy with classwork when the a part of the roof collapsed," as quoted by the Los Angeles Times.
The Taliban, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for the attack. "We claim responsibility for the blast," said a Taliban spokesman, Azam Tariq.
The US does not officially have stationed troops in Pakistan, although there a few personnel are there. Their duties are primarily to train and advise Pakistani security forces over tactics against local rebel groups.