PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A suicide car bomber rammed into a US government vehicle in the northwestern city of Peshawar Monday, killing two Pakistanis and wounding more than a dozen — including two Americans — in one of the worst attacks against the United States in Pakistan in recent years.
The two Americans are employees of the US Consulate in Peshawar. Their wounds were not life-threatening, the US Embassy said. Two Pakistani workers at the consulate also were among the wounded.
The bombing was a vivid reminder of the danger of operating in Pakistan, especially in the northwest where Taliban and Al Qaeda militants are strongest. The United States has persisted because its work in Pakistan is seen as key to countering militants who threaten American interests in neighboring Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Insurgents have carried out scores of bombings in Peshawar in recent years, but attacks against American targets have been relatively rare because of extensive security measures by the US government — ones that diplomats sometimes complain limit their effectiveness and ability to move around.
The United States said it would review its security procedures after Monday’s attack, which was condemned by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
‘‘We pray for the safe recovery of both American and Pakistani victims, and once again we deplore the cowardly act of suicide bombing and terrorism that has affected so many around the world,’’ Clinton said during a visit to Indonesia.
The armored sport utility vehicle from the US Consulate was attacked as it traveled through a heavily guarded area of the city that hosts various international organizations, including the United Nations. It was unclear how the bomber penetrated the area and knew which vehicle to attack.
The car driven by the bomber was packed with 240 pounds of explosives, police said. The blast ripped apart the consulate vehicle — tossing its engine at least 20 feet away — and started a raging fire. Rescue workers and residents rushed to put out the fire and pull away the dead and wounded. All that was left of the SUV was a charred mass of twisted metal with a red diplomatic license plate.
The driver, Atif Nawaz, said the blast knocked him out.
‘‘When I came to my senses, I jumped out of my car and screamed, ‘What happened?’ ’’ said Nawaz, whose face and hands were badly burned.
The attack killed two Pakistanis and wounded 19 others, including police who were protecting the Americans, said senior police officer Javed Khan.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion will fall on Taliban and Al Qaeda militants who have long had their sights set on the United States.
American drones have fired scores of missiles at the militants’ hideouts in Pakistan in recent years, and Washington has given the Pakistani military billions of dollars to fight the extremists.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called the attack a ‘‘heinous act.’’
The charge d’affaires at the US Embassy, Richard Hoagland, praised Pakistani security forces for saving the lives of the four consulate employees.
‘‘In this dangerous world where terrorists can strike at any moment, we must all work together — Pakistanis and Americans alike — because we have a strong mutual interest in defeating terrorism,’’ he said.