At least 25 people were killed in Pakistan as a suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up in a busy market. In other Pakistan news, their meetings with Afghanistan, for peace talks, yielded little resort.
In Iran, Ahmadinejad says foreign interference is the source of all problems in the region. He did not identify which powers he meant when he made the comment Friday in Islamabad. Mr. Ahmadinejad is holding talks with the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan on steps needed to stabilize the region.
Syrian troops are shelling rebel-held areas in the central city of Homs, just one day after the U.N. General Assembly condemned the regime for violating human rights in its crackdown. Activists said tank fire and artillery shelling Friday hit four neighborhoods in the central city which has spearheaded the 11-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
Details after the break.
Officials in Pakistan's northwest Kurram tribal region say a suicide bomber on a motorcycle has blown himself up at a busy market, killing at least 25 people.
Authorities say the blast in the town of Parachinar, near the Afghan border, happened near a mosque in a busy market, around the time of Friday prayers. The attack wounded more than 50 people and destroyed several shops. Local reports say the bombing targeted Shi'ite Muslims.
Authorities said police later shot and killed three more people who were protesting the attack. A curfew has been imposed in the town to prevent more protests.
A local Taliban splinter group claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Fazal Saeed, who said he was the group's leader. Speaking to reporters by telephone, he said the attack was retaliation for Shi'ite attacks on Sunni Muslims in the area.
The Kurram tribal agency is home to a sizable Shi'ite population in a country dominated by Sunni Muslims. The area has been the scene of suicide attacks and other sectarian violence, mostly engineered by Sunni militants, including the Taliban and al-Qaida.
Pakistan is warning Afghanistan against having unrealistic expectations in bringing the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table, as talks on finding a political solution to the Afghan war ended with little progress.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told reporters in Islamabad Friday that it would be "preposterous" for Afghanistan to expect Pakistan to deliver Taliban's chief, Mullah Omar, for talks.
She said, "if you have unrealistic, almost ridiculous expectations, then you don't have common ground to begin with."
Her comments followed a meeting between Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Islamabad, as part of a trilateral summit that also included Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
It's unclear if President Karzai pressed the Pakistani leader for access to senior Afghan Taliban leaders who are believed to be based in Pakistan. Islamabad has had close, historic ties with the Afghan Taliban but has denied the group is based within Pakistan.
Foreign Minister Khar acknowledged that the dialogue was "very very useful, and if the talks were hard, that is fine."
During a press briefing following the summit, Pakistan's president denied his country's armed forces had links to militants.
The trilateral summit in the Pakistani capital focused on regional stability. Iran's leader said Friday that foreign interference is the source of all problems in the region.
President Ahmadinejad said "there are countries that are determined to dominate our region" and we should "deny others the opportunity to interfere in our affairs."
When asked about relations with Pakistan, Afghanistan's president told reporters that recent engagements, despite incidents, have been "fruitful."
The Wall Street Journal quoted Karzai Thursday as saying that the U.S. and Afghan government have begun secret three-way talks with the Taliban. However, the insurgent group said in a statement Thursday that it has never negotiated with what it called "Mr. Karzai's puppet administration."
Preliminary peace talks said to be under way in Qatar reportedly include only U.S. and Taliban officials.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says foreign interference is the source of all problems in the region.
He did not identify which powers he meant when he made the comment Friday in Islamabad. Mr. Ahmadinejad is holding talks with the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan on steps needed to stabilize the region.
Pakistan's historic ties with the Taliban, as well as the porous borders shared among the three neighbors, provide the foundation for the summit. The Afghan Taliban and many affiliated groups are believed to be based in Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.
A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai praised the summit as a valuable tool in the fight against terrorism, narcotics and other common threats.
The Wall Street Journal quoted President Karzai Thursday as saying that the U.S. and Afghan government have begun secret three-way talks with the Taliban. However, the insurgent group said in a statement Thursday that it has never negotiated with what it called "Mr. Karzai's puppet administration."
Activists say Syrian troops are shelling rebel-held areas in the central city of Homs, just one day after the U.N. General Assembly condemned the regime for violating human rights in its crackdown.
The activists said tank fire and artillery shelling Friday hit four neighborhoods in the central city which has spearheaded the 11-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
On Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accused the Assad government of "almost certain" crimes against humanity.
The U.N. General Assembly also passed a resolution, approved by 137 of the assembly's 193 member states, calling on Assad's autocratic government to "immediately put an end to attacks against civilians."
Frustrated by the lack of a U.N. Security Council action, British Prime Minister David Cameron, who met his French counterpart in Paris for talks on Friday, said Britain and France both support the creation of the "Friends of Syria", an international coalition that world leaders are expected to discuss next week at a conference in Tunisia.
The British prime minister said, "What is happening in Syria is appalling, you have a government that is butchering and murdering its own people, and it is horrific what is taking place and that's why it's so important that the world comes together and the world acts as decisively as it can."
French President Nicholas Sarkozy, meanwhile, sent a strong message to Syrian opposition groups to unite so that the outside world can better support them in overthrowing the Syrian government.
He said, "We cannot bring about a Syrian revolution without the Syrian people and I am sure you understand what I mean by this. We cannot bring this about if the Syrian opposition doesn't unite and organize to help us to help them. We will not accept that a dictator is allowed to massacre its own people, but the revolution cannot come from the outside, it must be born from within."
General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, but reflect world opinion on major issues. Eleven nations joined Syria in voting against the resolution, most notably Russia and China, which vetoed a similar measure in the U.N. Security Council earlier this month.
The VOA correspondent in New York says other nations whose ambassadors spoke against the General Assembly resolution included Iran, North Korea, Bolivia and Venezuela.
The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, said the assembly sent a clear message to the Syrian people that "the world is with you" and President Assad "has never been more isolated."
Syria's ambassador to the U.N., Bashar Jaafari, accused the resolution's Arab co-sponsors of colluding with "terrorists" to undermine the Syrian government.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun is due in Syria Friday for talks with Syrian officials on resolving the conflict. The vice foreign minister met with a Syrian opposition delegation in the Chinese capital last week.
Rights groups say Assad's crackdown on dissent has killed more than 6,000 people since last March. There was no way to verify the latest casualty figures independently because Syria tightly restricts foreign media.
All content based on VOA News reports