Islamabad, Pakistan – At least eight people were killed on Saturday when a suicide bomber ripped through a restaurant in the restive northwestern tribal region of Bajaur, officials said. The Taliban claimed responsibility, and a local official, Saad Muhammad, said that the target was Malik Tehsil Khan, whom he described as active in an anti-Taliban militia. Mr. Khan died in the attack.
“In our assessment, he was the target of the attack because others who have been killed were just ordinary people,” Mr. Muhammad said.
At least 10 people were wounded and several of them were in a critical condition after the blast at 10:40 a.m. at the restaurant in the town of Pasht Bazar in a northern corner of Bajaur known as Salarzai.
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Mr. Muhammad said the explosion destroyed the one-room restaurant, where people had gathered over tea in the morning.
The Taliban have repeatedly attacked leaders and members of anti-Taliban militias, which are known here as peace committees, in order to force them into submission or deter them from aiding the government.
“We carried out the bombing against the peace committee because they had joined the government and were maligning Taliban,” a Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said, according to Agence France-Presse.
Bajaur, a district on the northern edge of the tribal region along the Afghan border, has long been considered a haven for affiliates of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, which use the area as a base to strike NATO and Afghan targets across the border.
Saturday’s bombing was the latest in a string of attacks in Pakistan in the last week. At least 32 people were killed and 52 were wounded on Thursday when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle close to the office of administration officials in the northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province.
On Wednesday, seven people were killed when a suicide bomber drove a vehicle carrying explosives into a police station in Peshawar. On Monday, Pakistani security forces ended a 16-hour standoff after a team of heavily armed insurgentsstormed a major Pakistani naval base in the southern city of Karachi late Sunday night, setting off a prolonged gun battle with security forces. At least 10 Pakistani security officers were killed in the fighting.
The Taliban have said some attacks this month have been in retaliation for the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan by members of the Navy Seals on May 2.
The article “Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 8 at Pakistan Restaurant” originally appeared in The New York Times.