Pakistan: Taliban claim Bajur attack, 20 reported dead

The Pakistani Taliban today claimed a suicide bombing that killed 20 people and injured dozens in an attack in the Bajur tribal area, a day after two bombings killed five in the same restive region near the Afghan border, reported the Associated Press

The explosion near a security checkpoint took place as residents of Bajur district's busy city Khar were headed to work or school today, local official Abdul Haseeb told AP

It was unclear whether the attacks today and Thursday were coordinated, but it appears that they both targeted Afghans working against the Taliban insurgency there.

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Two anti-Taliban tribal elders were killed by a bomb attack on Thursday, while five of those reported dead today were security forces, one of which had been awarded for bravery in battling Islamist militants, local official Abdul Haseeb told AP

In a phone call to AP today, Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan said the violence was in "revenge for killing our people."

The Bajur region lies near the Afghan border, a lawless area known as a haven of militant activity.

Large military campaigns were launched against the Taliban there in August 2008 and February 2009, said AFP