Pakistan Taliban claim responsibility for attack on WFP distribution point

08:20, December 27, 2010      

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People carry a man injured in the blast to a hospital in northwest Pakistan's Peshawar on December 25, 2010. At least 42 people were killed and 72 others injured in a suicide blast that took place Saturday morning in front of a World Food Program office in Pakistan's northwest city of Khar in Bajaur Agency. (Xinhua Photo/Saeed Ahmad)

Pakistan Taliban on Sunday claimed responsibility for Saturday's suicide attack at a World Food Program (WFP) food distribution point in the tribal region of Bajaur in northwest Pakistan, which killed 47 people and injured 70 others.

WFP has temporarily stopped its food distribution operation in Bajaur after the suicide attack on its ration distribution center, said the WFP spokesman Amjad Jamal.

A woman bomber struck the center where some 600 people were gathered to receive food at the WFP center in Khar, the headquarters of Bajaur.

A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility and said that the people of local Salarzai tribe were targeted as they "support the army" against the Taliban.

Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq said that the Salarzai tribe had formed "Lashkar" or private army against the Taliban and that is why they were targeted.

"We will also target those in future who support the government against us," Tariq said.

The Salarzai tribe is one of the major tribes in Bajaur, who had formed Lashkar against the Taliban militants in the region.

The WFP spokesman aid that the WFP was providing aid to 41,000 families affected by fighting between the army and the Taliban militants in 2008-2009 and many are still depending on foreign aid.

Jamal said that the WFP has halted its operation as curfew was imposed in the area after the terrorist attack.

"We have not yet decided any date to resume the food distribution," he said, adding that a decision will be made after reviewing the security situation.

No staff member of the WFP was hurt in the Saturday's deadliest attack and the victims were mostly civilians and only three security men were killed.

The WFP spokesman said all the staff was in the area and as soon as the situation becomes normal, they will start distribution of food among IDPs.

"We wanted to continue the operation. But due to imposition of the curfew in area, the WFP workers were unable to move anywhere. The authorities decided to halt it temporarily," said the spokesman.

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