The attack came after the Pakistani Taliban vowed retaliatory attacks for the killing by the US of bin Laden [AFP]

Dozens of people have been killed in an apparent suicide attack outside a police station after explosives on a pick-up truck were detonated in the northwestern Pakistan town of Hangu, police officials say.

Islamuddin Khan, a senior police official, said Thursday's blast also left 56 wounded.

Local police official Irshad Khan said the bomb went off near several government buildings, including the district commissioner's office.

Those buildings for the most part escaped the blast, he said, but numerous shops and other facilities nearby were damaged.

Hangu is a rough area located just outside Pakistan's lawless tribal regions bordering Afghanistan. The tribal areas have long been havens for al-Qaeda and other fighters.

The attack comes days after the Pakistani Taliban group vowed retaliatory attacks to avenge the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a US raid.

There has already been a string of attacks since the warning was issued, including an audacious attack on a naval base in the city of Karachi that killed 13 and wounded 20 others.

The base was the headquarters of Pakistan's naval air wing and armed attackers were able to destroy two P-3C Orion aircraft from the United States, crucial assets for Pakistan's anti-submarine and maritime surveillance capability.

It took about 100 commandos, rangers and marines to kill the attackers and recapture the base.

Source: Agencies