PESHAWAR, Pakistan- Suspected militants exploded a car bomb in a market crowded with women and children Wednesday, killing 100 people and turning shops selling wedding dresses, toys and jewelry into a mass of burning debris and bodies.
The attack in the northwestern city of Peshawar was Pakistan’s deadliest since 2007 and came as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited the country to offer support for its fight against a strengthening al-Qaida and Taliban-led insurgency based along the Afghan border.
Clinton was three hours’ drive away in the capital meeting Pakistani government leaders when the bomb went off in Peshawar.
The bomb was directed squarely at civilians, unlike many previous blasts that have targeted security forces or government or Western interests. While no one claimed responsibility, the bomb appeared aimed at undercutting public and political support for an ongoing army offensive against militants close to the frontier and showing that the government was unable to keep its people safe.