|Police removed explosives from a suicide bomber after an attack in Dera Ghazi Khan on Sunday [Reuters]
A suicide bomber has struck a bus station in northwest Pakistan, killing up to six people in the sixth bomb attack in Pakistan in as many days, police said.
The bomb exploded in the small town of Jandol on Monday in the district of Lower Dir, 200km from the capital Islamabad. Pakistani troops fought a major offensive to expunge the Taliban from the area nearly two years ago.
"Six people have died," Islam Khan, a police official, said.
The Lower Dir administration office said at least five people were killed in the town, which is close to Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal belt on the Afghan border that Washington has dubbed a global headquarters of Al Qaeda.
"The bomb exploded at a bus terminal," Qazi Jamil ur-Rehman, the regional deputy inspector general of police, said.
"It was a suicide attack. The bomber was on foot. At least five killed and seven were injured. We're investigating what the target was. This area is close to Bajaur trial district," he said.
More than 4,200 people have been killed across Pakistan in attacks blamed on Taliban and other armed groups, since government troops stormed a mosque in Islamabad in 2007.
Monday's bombing is the sixth in as many days. On Sunday, two suicide bombers killed 50 people, unleashing carnage at a Sufi shrine in the central province of Punjab where hundreds had gathered for a religious ceremony.
"We had 44 dead in our hospital. Six people died on the spot and their families took their bodies directly," Tariq Mehmood, an emergency ward official at Civil Hospital in Dera Ghazi Khan, said.
That attack on the shrine of 13th century Sufi saint Ahmed Sultan, popularly known as Sakhi Sarwar, was the deadliest in Pakistan since a mosque bombing killed 68 people on November 5 in the northwest area of Darra Adam Khel.
Armed groups have increasingly targeted Sufi worshippers, who follow a mystical strain of Islam, in Muslim-majority Pakistan.
Police and security agencies are questioning a suspected accomplice arrested with a suicide jacket near the shrine and whom police said was injured when a grenade exploded in his hand.
The suspect was identified as an Afghan refugee in his mid-teens from North Waziristan in Pakistan's northwest tribal belt.
Washington considers the area a haven for Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives who fled the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan to regroup and launch attacks on foreign troops across the border.
US officials would like Pakistan to launch a major offensive in North Waziristan, considered the ultimate fortress of groups fighting US-led troops in Afghanistan, but Pakistan says its troops are too overstretched elsewhere.
Last Thursday, six people including a tribal elder were killed by a bomb in a southwestern province of Baluchistan.
A suicide bombing on the same day that targeted an Islamic party chief killed at least 13 people in the northwestern town of Charsadda.
The previous day, another suicide attack aimed at the politician and his supporters killed 10 people in the northwestern town of Swabi.