A suicide attack apparently targeting an anti-Taliban mayor, Abdul Malik in the North-Western city of Adazai, 10 miles from Peshawar, on Sunday (local time) claimed eleven lives including the mayors’. The blast in a crowded market killed 11 other people and injured dozens. The market was crowded with shoppers on a shopping spree on account of the upcoming Muslim festival of Eid.
The mayor, Abdul Malik, who was initially reported to have survived, died in the attack, said Sahibzada Anis, the top official in Peshawar.
Malik, who had once been a Taliban supporter, had later switched sides and formed a local militia to help fight the militants.
‘‘Malik had survived several attacks on his life in the recent past, since he turned against the militants,” said Anis. ”But today the militants have finally killed him.”
Eleven bodies and 25 injured people had been rushed to the hospital, police officer Abdul Sattar Khan said. A young girl was among those killed and several of the injured were in critical condition, officials said.
In a recent spate of attacks in last few weeks, mostly in such crowded market places and other civil and military locations, the militants have struck numerous times, killing more than 300 civilians and soldiers in attacks aimed at weakening the government’s resolve to continue a military operation against Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in South Waziristan.
Khan Zamir was buying goats for the Eid celebration when an explosion ripped through the street.
”That place turned into a hell where the dead and injured were lying everywhere and blood and flesh were spread around,” he said, adding that two of his relatives were badly injured. ”Now we have our blood in this war,” he said, vowing revenge against the attackers.
The Pakistani government launched the current offensive in mid-October in the semiautonomous tribal region, running along the Afghan border. The Pakistani government seldom had any significant influence in these areas which led it to become the main Taliban and Al-Qaida sanctuary in the nation. About 350,000 people have fled the areas since fighting started.
While the the military says hundreds of militants have been killed in the fighting the Taliban sources have constantly denied the claims.