Islamabad. At least 12 people have been killed in a suicide bomb attack on a militant commander’s compound in a north-west Pakistani tribal region, officials say.
Reports said the commander, Nabi Hanafi, had been fighting a branch of the Pakistani Taliban (TTP). It is unclear if he is among the dead.
The Taliban have said they were behind the attack in Buland Khel in a remote mountainous area of North Waziristan.
Officials said a suicide bomber drove a vehicle into the compound.
Several other people were injured in the attack. Mullah Hanafi is from Orakzai tribal area. The semi-autonomous tribal areas, bordering Afghanistan, are a stronghold for Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants.
It is still not clear if Mullah Hanafi was hit in the attack, or whether he was even in the compound at all.
Local government administrator Wajid Khan told the Associated Press that Hanafi had been off base at the time of the attack. Nabi Hanafi had once been associated with the Pakistani Taliban but later switched sides and began to fight them with his own militia.
There are reports that the Pakistani government had provided some support to his group as part of its strategy of trying to counter the threat posed by the TTP.
The attack comes against a backdrop of apparent rifts within the ranks of the Pakistani Taliban over an offer of talks by new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
There are dozens of militant groups operating under the banner of the TTP.
All have sanctuaries in the tribal areas near Peshawar in the north-west - some favour talks, while others do not, correspondents say.