"When police gathered, a suicide bomber blew himself up. One civilian was killed." Mohammed Ejaz, a Peshawar police officer, said, adding: "Fourteen people were injured, eight of them policemen."

Growing fears

Doctor Mohammad Shahid, of Peshawar's main Lady Reading hospital, later said that one of the injured had also died.

"One person died in the hospital - he was a civilian - and three are still in a critical condition, including two policemen,"  he said.

Pakistan has recently been hit by a string of bomb blasts linked to the Taliban as fears grow that the group is exacting revenge for a six-week military offensive by the country's military against its fighters in three northwest districts.

Peshawar is the capital of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) where Pakistani government forces have battled fighters loyal to the Taliban in recent weeks.

The Pakistani military launched its offensive in the NWFP after Taliban fighters violated a deal that was to see stricter implementation of Islamic law for the region's three million people in exchange for peace.

More than a dozen bomb attacks have killed at least 100 people across Pakistan since the Pakistani military began its offensive in the NWFP in late April.