(Updates toll, adds Taliban claim responsibility)
By Syed Raza Hassan
ISLAMABAD, Feb 13 (Reuters) - An explosion targeting a bus
of Pakistani policemen killed 12 of them and wounded 58 near the
city of Karachi on Thursday, officials said, in the latest
incident of violence while the government and Pakistani Taliban
are engaged in peace talks.
Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid claimed
responsibility for the blast in a phone call to Reuters and said
it was retaliation for the killing of Taliban prisoners.
Ten wounded policemen were in critical condition, said Dr
Seemin Jamali, head of the emergency department at the city's
Jinnah Medical Center.
It was unclear whether the blast was set off by a suicide
bomber or a roadside bomb, said senior police officer Rao Anwar.
The bombing follows an attack on the home of a slain
policemen that killed nine members of a pro-government militia
on Wednesday, and a grenade attack on a cinema on Tuesday that
Both attacks were in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
Neither of those attacks was claimed by the Taliban.
But Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahid claimed
responsibility for the Thursday attack on the police bus in the
southern city of Karachi saying it was in response for the
killing of more than 20 militants in different jails.
The violence comes amid peace talks between government and
Taliban-nominated representatives aimed at trying to end
Pakistan's insurgency. Both sides are supposed to refrain from
major attacks during the talks.
But many question whether the Taliban, who have repeatedly
said they reject democracy and want Pakistan ruled according to
a strict brand of Islamic law, will be able to strike a
compromise with the government.
Others worry that there are too many militant groups in
Pakistan to negotiate with. Several such groups, not included in
the talks, have carried out bloody bombings of markets,
churches, and mosques.
(Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Clarence Fernandez
and Robert Birsel)