40 Killed in Twin Suicide Attack at Pakistan Anti-Taliban Meeting

A double suicide bombing killed at least 40 people in Pakistan's tribal belt on Monday, attacking pro-government community leaders and members of an anti-Taliban militia, officials said.

The bombers targeted a local administration compound in Ghalalnai, the main town in the tribal district of Mohmand, about 175 kilometers (110 miles) northwest of the federal capital Islamabad and near the Afghan border.

More than 100 people were believed to have been in the compound where government officials, allied tribal elders and members of local anti-Taliban militia were holding talks, leading to fears that the death toll could rise.

"There were two suicide attackers, both came on motorbikes," administration official Shamsul Islam told Pakistan's Geo television, dismissing suggestions that security had been lax.

It was the second suicide attack in five months targeting Mohmand tribal elders allied to the government. On July 9, a suicide car bomb attack killed 105 people in the region's town of Yakaghund.

"Routine security arrangements were in place. It is difficult to stop suicide bombers, they can go anywhere."

Local administration officials told AFP that the first suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance and the second inside the compound.

"A meeting was underway between the local administration chief and tribal elders, members of the peace committee (anti-Taliban militia) when the blast took place," another local official, Maqsood Amin, told AFP.

Amin said more than 20 people were wounded.(AFP)