A Taliban suicide bomber rammed his motorbike into an armoured vehicle taking American officials to the US consulate in north-west Pakistan today, in a strike the militants said was in revenge for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
Two Americans suffered minor injuries, but one Pakistani passer-by was killed and at least 10 others were wounded in the attack in the city of Peshawar, officials said.
The strike was the first on Westerners since the May 2 raid by American commandos on bin Laden’s hideout in an army town around three hours from Peshawar.
The Pakistani Taliban, an al-Qaida-allied group behind scores of attacks in recent years, claimed responsibility.
“We say to the Americans and Nato that we will carry out more deadly attacks and we can do it,” said Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan. “We had warned that we will avenge the martyrdom of Osama.”
The Americans were travelling in two cars from their homes to the heavily protected consulate building when the bomber on a motorbike struck one of the vehicles, said US Embassy spokesman Alberto Rodriguez. The Americans from the damaged car were whisked away from the scene in the second vehicle. The most serious wound was a possible broken hand, he said.
The consulate is home to diplomats, security contractors and – it is widely believed – CIA staff hunting al Qaida and associated groups. Both the consulate building and a previous top officer there have been attacked in the past.