Separate Pakistani Taliban bomb blasts targeting political candidates have killed several people, police have said. The attacks are the latest in a series of bombings at political offices in the country.
At least nine people were killed Sunday when Pakistani Taliban detonated bombs at the campaign offices of two politicians.
The first attack (pictured) on the outskirts of Kohat city targeted the office of Syed Noor Akbar, police officials said. Casualty reports varied, putting the death toll at between four and six people, with at least 10 and as many as 18 wounded. Akbar is running as an independent candidate in the May 11 national elections for a seat in the National Assembly.
In a second bombing in the suburbs of Peshawar city, an explosive rigged to a bicycle ripped through the offices of Nasir Khan Afridi, also an independent candidate running for a National Assembly seat. Three people were killed and at least 12 wounded in the blast, police officials said.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for both attacks in a short statement. In a separate statement, the Pakistani Taliban said political parties were facing attacks for their "secular doctrine" and role in military operations in the northwestern regions.
Days of violence
Sunday's attacks were the latest in a string of bombings targeting political offices over the past several days. Deadly blasts on Saturday also targeted the offices of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) in the southern port of Karachi.
A day earlier, the Pakistani Taliban targeted a rally of the Awami National Party (ANP) in Karachi with a car bomb attack, killing at least nine people. On Thursday, a bomb blast struck an MQM election office in Karachi's Nusart Bhutto Colony, leaving at least five people dead and 10 others wounded.
As Pakistan prepares for national elections on May 11, the Pakistani Taliban has said it would target liberal and secular parties, singling out the ANP, MQM and PPP. The threats and attacks have made it difficult for these parties to campaign, which could cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election if some mainstream parties can't properly participate.
May's polls will mark the first time in Pakistani history that a civilian government has successfully completed a full term in office and then handed over power through an election.
dr/mg (dpa, AP, AFP)