PESHAWAR: A car bomb tore through a packed market in Peshawar today, killing 92 people and trapping casualties under pulverised shops, in one of Pakistan's deadliest attacks.

The explosion detonated in a crowded street in the Meena Bazaar of Peshawar, one of the most congested parts of the volatile northwest city, sparking a huge blaze and ending in carnage routine shopping trips for scores of people.

The attack underscored the scale of the militant threat in Pakistan just hours after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in the capital Islamabad for three days of talks with political and military leaders.

Angry flames leapt from burning wreckage and smoke billowed in the air as a building collapsed into dust and rubble. Police evacuated panicked residents from the smouldering wreckage and firemen hosed down the flames.

"It was a car bomb. Some people are still trapped in a building. We are trying to rescue them," bomb disposal official Shafqat Malik told reporters.

"We have 92 bodies and we have registered 217 injured people. Nineteen of the dead are women and 11 are children. All the dead were civilians," Doctor Zafar Iqbal told AFP at Peshawar's main Lady Reading Hospital.

A hospital official outside the casualty wing made a public announcement, appealing for people to donate blood as doctors spoke of harrowing scenes.

Blast site is one of the most congested parts of Peshawar and is full of women's clothing shops and general market stalls.

UN staffers killed in Kabul

KABUL: Taliban militants wearing suicide vests and police uniforms stormed a guest house used by UN staff in the heart of the Afghan capital early Wednesday, killing 12 people - including six UN staff. It was the biggest in a series of attacks intended to undermine next month's presidential runoff election. A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the early morning assaults, which also included rocket attacks at the presidential palace and the city's main luxury hotel.

The chief of the UN mission in Afghanistan, Kai Eide, said the attack "will not deter the UN from continuing all its work" in the country. One of the six UN dead was an American, the US Embassy said.— AP