A suicide attack at a Taliban leader's complex killed 15 people in the northwestern Pakistani tribal district of Orakzai, authorities told Efe.

The attack in the Spin Tal zone began at 7:00 a.m. Thursday with a car-bomb blast, which was followed by a gun battle, a government official said.

Eight people were wounded in the incident, according to a local government spokesman, who said the attack stemmed from an internal struggle pitting two rival Taliban factions in the region: the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, and another headed by Mullah Nabi Hanafi, who was targeted in the attack.

Authorities said they were not aware if Hanafi was wounded or killed in the attack.

According to local daily Dawn, Hanafi was associated with the TTP in the past but, due to ideological differences, formed his own rival militia.

Internal differences among Pakistani Taliban leaders have become more acute since the death last May of the TTP's No. 2, Waliur Rehman Mehsud, in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's tribal region.

Orakzai is one of seven districts that make up Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, a semi-autonomous tribal region that borders Afghanistan and has never been under the complete control of the Pakistani state.

That region is almost exclusively inhabited by Pashtun tribes.

The tribal areas serve as refuge for various Taliban, jihadist and Al Qaeda-linked groups and are beset by constant violence. EFE