KACHA PAKHA, Pakistan (Reuters) - Two suicide bombings at a center for people displaced by a Pakistani military offensive against militants killed at least 38 people and wounded 65 on Saturday, an official said.
The first of two male attackers, disguised as a woman in an all-enveloping burqa dress, was followed seconds later by a teenager who blew himself up, said local commissioner Khalid Khan Omarzai.
“It was huge and caused most of the deaths,” he said of the second explosion.
They struck as about 300 people displaced by fighting were registering at an office in the village of Kacha Pakha in the northwest of the country, hoping to get food items, officials said.
Pakistan’s military has carried out a series of crackdowns against homegrown al Qaeda-backed Taliban fighters seeking to topple the government, destroying some of their bases.
But the measures have failed to weaken the resolve of the Taliban, whose violent suicide bombings have raised questions over the stability of U.S. ally Pakistan.
“The blasts were so powerful that the limbs of people scattered throughout the area. People are searching limbs of their dear ones in nearby crop fields,” said resident Mohammad Qasim. Shoes and bloodstained clothes lay strewn on the ground.
A group affiliated with Pakistan’s Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The military says its latest operations, in the Orakzai and Khyber and Kurram regions, have killed hundreds of militants, tolls that were not possible to confirm independently. The Taliban usually disputes casualty figures released by the military.
Suicide bombings and the Taliban’s version of Islamic rule, which can involve public beheadings and floggings, have angered many Pakistanis.
“How can anyone call them human beings? They are beasts who are killing innocent people. The government should finish them off once and for all,” said Jabbar Ali, whose leg was wounded in Saturday’s bombings.
Additional reporting by Zeeshan Haider; Writing by Michael Georgy; editing by Mark Trevelyan