A suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a military checkpoint in Pakistan's troubled northwest today, killing at least 20 people, officials said. The explosion wrecked a building that houses troops and police next to the checkpoint. At least 18 members of the security forces as well as two civilians died, a police official said. More than a dozen other people were wounded, including the local police chief.
The checkpoint is near the Orakzai tribal region, which has emerged in recent months as a major base for Taliban militants waging war on the Pakistan government. Militants most frequently attack security forces in the northwest. However, recent attacks, including assaults on the Sri Lanka cricket team and a police academy in the eastern city of Lahore, have fanned fears that their reach is spreading across the country.