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Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Quetta, Pakistan, 20 Dec. (AKI) - At least eight people were seriously injured on Wednesday when a bomb went off in a crowded marked in Quetta, capital of Pakistan's region of Balochistan which lies near the country's border with Afghanistan. The explosion appears to have been caused by a home-made bomb hidden on a bicycle in Liaquat Market where most of the shopkeepers and their customers are ethnic Pushtun. Just over a month ago police averted a potential bloodbath at the market when they discovered and defused a 16 kiilogramme bomb.

Authorities have refused to comment on the attacks, but official sources have told Adnkronos International (AKI) they blame rising tensions between President Hamid Karzai's Afghan government and the Pakistani authorities.

Kabul has accused Islamabad of not doing enough to curb Taliban cross-border activity, while Pakistani officials have called upon Karzai to take appropriate measures to tighten security in his country so as to prevent violence from spilling over into Pakistan.

Both countries have been arresting each other's security officials, including one incident in which 10 members of a new Pakistani border force called Levies were captured on Tuesday. After negotiations between the two countries, the Levies were allowed to returned home on Wednesday.

Balochistan is an insurgency-stricken region where the banned separatist Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) has been blamed in the past for most acts of sabotage. However, the BLA has mostly targeted state owned property and not civilians in public places.
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