PESHAWAR, Pakistan - A Taliban car bomb struck an armored vehicle taking American government employees to the U.S. Consulate in northwest Pakistan on Friday in a strike extremists said was to avenge the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
A Pakistani passerby was killed and two Americans suffered minor injuries in the attack in Peshawar, officials said. At least 10 Pakistanis were wounded.
The strike was the first on Westerners since the May 2 U.S. commando raid on bin Laden's hideout in an army town about three hours from Peshawar.
The Pakistani Taliban, an al-Qaeda-allied group behind scores of attacks in recent years, claimed responsibility.
"We say to the Americans and NATO that we will carry out more deadly attacks, and we can do it," Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan said in a phone call from an undisclosed location. "We had warned that we will avenge the martyrdom of Osama."
The Americans were traveling in two cars from their homes to the heavily protected consulate when a car bomb exploded nearby, police and U.S. Embassy spokesman Alberto Rodriguez said. The most serious injury was a possible broken hand, Rodriguez said.
He first said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber, based on accounts from witnesses. He later called to say it was a planted explosive device of some kind. Police said it was a car bomb, presumably detonated by remote control.
Rodriguez declined to say what jobs the Americans held. Both the consulate building and a previous top officer there have been attacked in the past.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said U.S. diplomatic security agents were assisting Pakistani authorities in investigating the attack.
The U.S. raid that killed bin Laden in Abbottabad damaged Pakistani-American relations already frayed since January, when a CIA contractor killed two Pakistanis in Lahore.
That incident prompted Pakistan to demand a reduction in the number of U.S. military personnel in the country, and infuriated the Pakistani army over what it said were American spies operating in the country.
Peshawar lies just outside Pakistan's tribal regions, where al-Qaeda and the Taliban have bases.
The city has witnessed many of the suicide and other bombings that have scarred Pakistan over the last five years, the vast majority against Pakistani government and security force targets. Foreigners in Pakistan have also been targeted, but not nearly as much.
Last week, the Pakistani Taliban killed more than 80 Pakistani recruits for a paramilitary border force in double suicide attacks close to Peshawar. They said those blasts were also in revenge for the death of bin Laden.
Pakistani TV footage showed that the car hit Friday was a sport-utility vehicle. It appeared to have veered into a pole and the hood was damaged. Nearby buildings were also damaged in the blast.