A suicide bomber killed16 people at a police checkpoint in a northwestern Pakistani tribalarea where the military declared victory over the Taliban and al-Qaidalast year, highlighting the difficulty Islamabad has in holding regionsonce the battle phase of its army offensives end.
Elsewhere inthe lawless tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, suspected US missileskilled nine alleged terrorists, intelligence officials said.
Fourteencivilians and two police officers died in the suicide attack Saturdayin the Bajur tribal region, while 20 people were wounded, localgovernment official Bakhat Pacha said. The attacker, on foot, struck amarket area in the region's main town, Khar, he said.
Some of the wounded were in critical condition at hospitals, he said.
Theattack came a day after officials said security forces had killed 44 Islamists in three days of battles on the outskirts of Khar.