Bomb at Pakistan market kills at least 21 but Taliban insist they are honouring their ceasefire

Armed police cordoned off the market and used metal detectors to scan several more containers

A bomb has ripped through a market in Pakistan killing at least 21 people in the deadliest attack on the nation’s capital in several years.

Officials said the device was hidden inside a box of guava fruit when it triggered the huge blast this morning, tearing traders’ bodies apart and sending their limbs flying through the air.

The Taliban denied responsibility, blaming the blast on ‘hidden hands’, as negotiations continued with Pakistan’s authorities to end fighting that has killed tens of thousands in the north west.

Police said around 5kg of explosives were hidden in the fruit carton and exploded as morning shoppers were buying supplies at the market, on the outskirts of Islamabad.

The power of the blast sent cartons of fruit and vegetables flying and left the ground littered with blood-stained sandals, guavas and prayer caps. Around 70 other people were injured.

One trader, who gave his name only as Shaheen, said: ‘Body parts went everywhere and even hit other people on the head.’

Another, Afzal Khan, said: ‘People were dying. People were crying. People were running.’