Blasts Target Pakistani Paramilitary Training Center

Originally published on May 13, 2011 6:48 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

In Pakistan, at least 80 people were killed today in a double-suicide attack. NPR's Julie McCarthy reports that the Pakistan Taliban have claimed responsibility.

JULIE MCCARTHY: In the worst attack this year, militants targeted new recruits from Pakistan's frontier constabulary. The newly inducted cadets were loading onto buses near the main gate of their training center in the northwest city of Charsadda, two hours from the capital Islamabad, heading home after six months of training.

Local authorities says as the men exchanged goodbyes in the early morning, a suicide bomber detonated explosives near the gate of the training center, drawing others to the scene to rescue victims. Minutes later, a second suicide attacker struck the gathering crowd.

Militants have vowed to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden. Authorities cautioned that in the complex war against extremists, that could have been one motive behind today's attack, the deadliest on the frontier constabulary, a force that supports local police in maintaining law and order.

The day's carnage is a gruesome reminder of the disorder the militancy is creating in Pakistan, even as the country faces suspicions that elements within its security forces may have helped harbor bin Laden.

Julie McCarthy, NPR News, Islamabad. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.