By RIAZ KHAN, Associated Press
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A bomb targeting a Pakistani military vehicle instead struck a passenger van on Wednesday in a city in the country's northwest, killing at least eight civilians, authorities said.
Police official Tahir Ayub Khan said the afternoon blast on the outskirts of Peshawar wounded another 27 civilians, plus three air force officers in the targeted vehicle. Khan said the bomb was set off by remote control. The passenger van and the air force vehicle were driving through the area at the time.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, and Khan said authorities were still investigating the motive behind the attack.
Peshawar is considered the gateway to Pakistan's tribal areas. Militants fighting the Pakistani government often target security officials in and around the city, although violence has dropped considerably in recent years.
Also Wednesday, security officials said they found the bodies of 29 militants in an area in northwest Pakistan where the military recently staged a two-week battle against Taliban fighters who came from Afghanistan. The military finally pushed the militants back into Afghanistan on Sept. 8.
A political official in the Bajur area where the fighting took place said at the time that the death toll included at least 80 militants, 18 civilians, 12 anti-Taliban militiamen and eight soldiers.
The security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to talk to the media, did not say exactly when they found the 29 bodies. But a political official in Bajur, Jehangir Azam Wazir, said 19 of the corpses were discovered Tuesday.
Pakistan has complained that Afghan and U.S.-led forces have not done enough to stop militants from staging cross-border attacks from Afghanistan. Kabul and Washington have long blamed Pakistan for failing to stop insurgents launching attacks in the other direction.
Associated Press writer Anwarullah Khan contributed to this report from Khar, Pakistan.
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