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Pakistan Bomb Kills 16 At Anti-Taliban Office
A car bombing has killed at least 16 people and wounded 30 others outside an office of pro-government tribal elders in a northwestern Pakistani town, officials have said.
The explosion ripped through Darra Adam Khel's crowded main market, which is very close to the office, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The target of the suicide bombing appeared to be members of the pro-government militia created to fight Taliban militants, the officials said.
Local government official Fakhar-ud-Din said it was not immediately clear how many militia members were killed or wounded because the bombing occurred in a crowded street and many shoppers were victims.
Information minister for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Mian Iftikhar Hussain said: "It was a suicide attack and the target was the local peace committee."
Police official Naeem Khan said the dead and wounded were being transported to hospitals in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
No group claimed responsibility, but Pakistani Taliban militants have staged such attacks in Darra Adam Khel in the past.
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 US-backed government.
But the operations, which have focused on Taliban strongholds in the unruly ethnic Pashtun tribal belt along the border with Afghanistan, have 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 the militias frequently come under attack from the Taliban, and the militia drive has had limited success.
The Taliban shot schoolgirl rights activist Malala Yousafzai, 14, in the head as she boarded a school bus in the former Taliban stronghold of Swat on Tuesday.