PESHAWAR, (Reuters) – A suicide bomber in a car blew himself up at a market in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, killing at least 14 people, officials said.
The target of the attack in the town of Darra Adam Khel appeared to be members of a pro-government militia created to fight Taliban militants, the officials said, adding that the death toll may rise because 25 people were wounded and several were in critical condition.
Pakistan’s military, one of the biggest in the world, has launched several offensives against the Taliban and other militant groups seeking to topple the U.S.-backed government.
But the operations, which have focused on Taliban strongholds in the unruly ethnic Pashtun tribal belt along the border with Afghanistan, failed to break the back of militant networks.
That is one reason why the government began encouraging tribesmen to revive traditional militias to take on the Taliban and rally their community behind the state.
But those militias frequently come under attack by the Taliban and the militia drive has had limited success.
The bombing destroyed 15 shops and eight vehicles, said senior regional government official Sahibzada Anees.