'Taliban-linked attack'

"But what's different is it was not an attack on a Nato convoy in any sense - it was an attack on tribal fighters, tribal policemen ... they are local people paid by the Pakistan government to fight on their behalf and maintain security on this road.

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"The attack is undoubtedly linked to the Taliban in some shape or form.

"We have the death, confirmed only this week, of the uniting Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

"Only yesterday was a proper official successor announced, his name is Hakimullah Mehsud. But who is commanding who and who would have given the order to do this, its almost impenetrable at the moment," she said.

Ali Raza, an official in the administration office, said he heard a huge explosion in the building next door.

"We rushed out and saw destruction all around," said Raza, who helped take the wounded to hospital.

Several of the wounded told him the last thing they saw was a young boy approaching security officers with what looked like jugs of water, but no one could confirm he was the bomber.

The Torkham checkpoint marks the main border crossing from the Khyber Pass into Afghanistan.