JAMRUD, Pakistan (CBS) -- A blast in a market in northwest Pakistan on Monday (December 17) killed at least 16 people, local media reported, citing security officials.
The official said scores had been wounded in the blast in the market in the Khyber region, near the border with Afghanistan, and the death toll could rise.
Pakistani television news channels broadcast pictures of wrecked cars and pick-up trucks damaged in the blast, which took place near rows of shops.
Media reports showed officials and witnesses saying there were several women and children among the dead and wounded.
The attack occurred near the office of a senior government official but it was unclear if he was the target of the attack, the news channels reported.
"I was very close by when the blast occurred. When I came here I saw people running away to save their lives. A majority of them were women and children who were waiting at the bus stop," said Mausam Khan Afridi, who had come to visit a friend in the nearby office of the assistant political agent (APA) for Khyber, one of the top local government officials in the semi-autonomous region.
Most of the wounded, many in a critical condition, were taken to a hospital in the region's main city of Peshawar.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but militants fighting the Pakistani state have launched numerous attacks in ethnic Pashtun areas along the Afghan border.
They have frequently targeted government and security officials and forces.
The security official told local media that it was not clear if the blast had been caused by a suicide attacker or a planted bomb. Several eyewitnesses told reporters the explosives were apparently planted in a vehicle parked in the market.