Darra blast kills 18; 40 others wounded
14 October, 2012
PESHAWAR: A car-bomb attack on Saturday killed 18 civilians and injured 40 others in Darra Adam Khel tribal region in south of Peshawar, official sources said.
The bomber targeted headquarters of pro-government peace body opposing Taliban-linked militancy, Kohat Commissioner Sahibzada Anis confirmed.
"All the victims are civilians," government official Fakhruddin in Kohat told reporters. He said it was a vehicle-borne suicide attack which left 34 shops and seven vehicles destroyed.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain used the occasion to renew call for "action" against militants across the country. "The time has come we take effective action against terrorism," the minister was talking to reporters at the Lady Reading Hospital where the wounded were brought for medical treatment. Mian Iftikhar said the anti-Taliban peace body members were targeted in the blast.
Taliban 'spokesman' Muhammad phoned the office of a foreign broadcasting network to deny involvement in the attack. It was not clear whether it was a remote-controlled blast or vehicle-borne suicide attack. Locals said a car was used in the blast. However, a statement from the Governor House's referred to the blast as "suicide attack" which Governor Masood Kausar described as "worst act of heinous crime". Two other officials confirmed the bombing and the death toll and said some of the wounded were shifted to other cities for treatment as local health facilities were not sufficient.
The peace committee comprised a breakaway group of former militants who ditched their Taliban colleagues and formed a militia supporting local elders and government efforts against militancy, a local intelligence official said.
Semi-autonomous Darra Adam Khel lies between the northwestern towns of Peshawar and Kohat and has experienced several suicide attacks and bombings blamed on Taliban militants.
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, 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. Separately, President Asif Zardari and PM Raja Pervez Ashraf condemned the blast in a condolence message.