Taliban claim responsibility for UN blast

ISLAMABAD – Taliban militants claimed responsibility Tuesday for the deadly suicide bombing at the U.N. food agency's heavily fortified compound in Islamabad, saying international relief work in Pakistan is not in "the interest of Muslims."

The attack, which killed five workers for the World Food Program on Monday, pushed the U.N. to temporarily close its offices in the country and exposed the vulnerability of many international relief agencies working to provide aid to millions of civilians affected by the fight between the government and Islamic militant groups.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik accused the Taliban of carrying out the attack to avenge the Aug. 5 slaying of their leader Baitullah Mehsud in a U.S. drone attack.

Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq confirmed his group was behind the strike in a phone conversation with The Associated Press and lashed out at foreign aid workers here.

"We proudly claim the responsibility for the suicide attack at the U.N. office in Islamabad. We will send more bombers for such attacks," he said in a phone conversation with The Associated Press. "The U.N. and other foreign aid groups are not working for the interest of Muslims. We are watching their activities. They are infidels."

He added that the Taliban would not target Muslim relief groups.

Tariq said the Taliban's future targets would include Pakistani security officials, government offices and American installations.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

ISLAMABAD AP — The Pakistani Taliban says it launched the deadly attack at the U.N. food agency's offices in Islamabad because international relief work was not in "the interest of Muslims."

Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq said Tuesday his group targeted the World Food Program because the U.N. and foreign aid groups are "infidels."

The blast at the World Food Program offices Monday killed five people.

Tariq said the Taliban would launch more attacks on Pakistani and U.S. targets.

AFP/Armend Nimani