A car filled with explosives rammed into a U.S. government vehicle near the U.S. Consulate in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar Monday, killing two Pakistanis and wounding 19 others, including two Americans, wire agency reports said citing Pakistani authorities.
An SUV carrying the U.S. Consulate employees was gutted in the blast, triggering a fire, the Associated Press reported.
The vehicle was hit after it left the U.S. Consulate and was traveling through an area that houses several international organizations, including the U.N, the report said citing Pakistani police officer Pervez Khan. The car was reportedly loaded with up to 110 kilograms (240 pounds) of explosives, including more than 10 mortar rounds.
Two Americans and two Pakistanis working at the U.S. Consulate were among the wounded, the U.S. Embassy said in a statement, calling the attack a "heinous act."
"We stand ready to work with Pakistani authorities on a full investigation so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice," it said. The statement confirmed that no U.S. Consulate staff was killed, adding that the four injured staff of the consulate were receiving treatment.
Though Peshawar, the main city in Pakistan's lawless northwest, is notorious for high incidence of explosions, attacks on the U.S. and foreign targets are relatively rare.
On Friday, a car bomb ripped through a market in Peshawar, killing at least 12 and injuring 12 others. A pickup truck exploded near a mosque in Matni, a southern suburb of Peshawar, AFP reported quoting senior police official Khurshid Khan.
Taliban and al Qaeda militants have been held responsible in the past for similar attacks though no group has claimed the responsibility for the attack on the U.S. vehicle.
According to Pakistan government estimates, since 2006, the war on terror has cost the country more than 35,000 citizens and 3,500 security personnel apart from the "destruction of infrastructure, internal migration of millions of people from parts of northwestern Pakistan, erosions of investment climate, nose diving of production and growing unemployment and above all brought economic activity to a virtual standstill in many part of the country."
To contact the editor, e-mail: