ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A powerful suicide-bomb blast tore through a police compound in the northwestern Pakistan town of Kohat on Tuesday, killing at least 14 people — the latest in a string of attacks carried out by Islamic militants at a time when the government and security forces are struggling to cope with this summer's catastrophic floods.
The attack in Kohat, situated between Taliban insurgent strongholds in Pakistan's tribal areas and the volatile city of Peshawar, was the fourth militant strike in the country in a week. At least 102 people have been killed in those blasts.
The Pakistani Taliban, the country's homegrown insurgency closely allied with the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the three previous attacks, which occurred in the eastern city of Lahore, the southern city of Quetta and the northwestern town of Lakki Marwat, on the fringe of the tribal belt.
The explosions in Lahore and Quetta last week were directed at large gatherings of the Shiite community, a frequent target of attacks by primarily Sunni Islamic militants. A police station was the target in the suicide car-bomb attack in Lakki Marwat on Monday. Children on their way to school were among the dead.
Bashir Bilour, leader of the ruling party in the northwest province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, said a suicide bomber rammed his pickup into the main gate of the police compound, which included a training center and housing for local police officers. The blast trapped many victims underneath piles of rubble.
Kohat's top administrative chief, Khalid Khan, said the explosion killed 14 people and injured 66 others.
"The majority of the injured people are women and children," said Mohammed Waseem, a local hospital official.
Insurgents appear to be exploiting the country's vulnerability as the military and police are preoccupied with relief for Pakistanis devastated by massive floods.