ASIA NEWS REPORT: The attack this morning in a bazaar, located near the headquarters of the military. Taliban behind attack, after similar bombing in the north-west of the country. Among the victims were six soldiers and eight civilians . TTP spokesman : "We will continue the attacks. "

Rawalpindi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 14 people are dead and 16 injured in a suicide attack on the Rawalpindi general market located near the headquarters of the Pakistani army, and claimed by the Taliban. The explosion occurred at 7:45 am and , according to eyewitnesses , was the work of a suicide bomber who blew himself up. Six soldiers and eight civilians were killed in the blast.  The market was crowded at the time of the attack and the suicide bomber could have caused carnage.

The Tehreek - e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed the attack, which targeted the checkpoint managed by the army and police forces. Shahidullah Shahid spokesman for the Islamist fighters confirmed that "we will continue the attacks" on representatives "of the government and the army", because the Islamabad government so far "has not announced a ceasefire or peace talks with us ."

The attack this morning in Rawalpindi follows the targeted attack, yesterday , against a military convoy in the northwest of the country.  The explosion killed at least 20 soldiers and injured 24 others .

The injured in this morning's attack were transported to the military hospital located just off the market for medical care . Akhtar Hayat Lalika , police chief of Rawalpindi, said that the market should be " one of the safest places" in the city. Local witnesses say there are two high school students, wearing the school uniform, among the dead.

According to investigators the suicide bomber was between 18 and 20 and was on board a motorcycle . Locals also speak of a second suicide bomber, but at the moment there is no official confirmation. The security forces surrounding the area to are still collecting information. The last two attacks confirm the escalation of Islamist and Taliban violence and terrorism to hit the country . Pakistani analysts and policy experts point the finger at the government, unable so far to implement an effective strategy to counter extremist violence .

Pakistan has more than 180 million people (97 per cent Muslim), making it the sixth most populous country in the world and the second largest Muslim nation after Indonesia. About 80 per cent is Sunni Muslim. Shias are almost 20 per cent; Hindus are around 1.85 per cent; Christians are 1.6 per cent and Sikhs, 0.04 per cent. Violence, abuse or acts of discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities occur across the country, with Christians and Shia Muslims especially targeted by Islamic fundamentalists.