Taliban bomb blast kills nine in Pakistan

Taliban Islamic militants bombed a political rally in Pakistan's northern city of Peshawar, killing nine people including the provincial minister for local government, Bashir Ahmad Bilou, and injuring 30 more.

A man is comforted by his relative as he mourns his brother who was killed in a bomb blast in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar. Credit: Reuters

Police official Ibrahim Khan said a male police officer was among the dead, with several more officers among those injured by the bomb blast in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar area.

Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan claimed responsibility for the attack. He said the insurgency would continue to target the Awami National Party, the largest political party in the northerly Khyber Pakhtunkwa province.

The bombing follows a string of high-profile attacks, including last week's attack on Peshawar airport, when nine people - including five attackers - died in a car bomb, rocket and gun attack.

This week, nine polio vaccinators were shot dead in the southern city of Karachi and in and around Peshawar.

A boy, injured in a bomb blast waits for treatment at a hospital in Peshawar. Credit: Reuters

The Taliban says it was not responsible for those killings, although Taliban commanders have repeatedly condemned the polio vaccination drive as a plot to spy on or sterilise Muslims.

Army officials recently said that Hakimullah Mehsud, the official leader of the Pakistani Taliban, had lost the trust of his fighters and surrendered operational control to his deputy, Wali-ur-Rehman - a claim denied by the Taliban.

It is not clear whether the recent violence is linked to turmoil within the fundamentalist group.