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KHAR, Pakistan (AP) — A pair of suicide bombers struck outside a government office Friday in a tribal region where the army has fought the Taliban, killing 62 people and wounding 111 in one of the deadliest attacks in Pakistan this year.
The attack, possibly aimed at some anti-Taliban tribal elders, showed that Islamist militants remain a potent force in the northwest tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, despite army offensives and U.S. missile strikes aimed at wiping them out. Washington is watching closely how Pakistan handles its militant crisis, pushing the South Asian country to wage war on Taliban and al-Qaida fighters who use its territory to plan attacks inside Afghanistan.
The bombers detonated their explosives near the Yakaghund village office of Rasool Khan, a deputy administrator of the Mohmand tribal region, who escaped unharmed. A group of tribal elders, including those involved in setting up militias to fight the Taliban, were in the building at the time. None was hurt, according to Mohmand chief administrator Amjad Ali Khan.
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