Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Several killed in multiple bombings in Pakistan

A roadside bomb has struck a vehicle carrying a local politician and his friends in southwestern Pakistan, killing him and six others, with no responsibility yet claimed by any group. In another bombing, two people were killed in the country’s northwest.

The attack that killed seven on Monday happened in Kech, a town in Balochistan province, local police officer Haider Ali said.

The slain politician, Ishaq Yaqub, was from the Balochistan Awami Party and it was unclear who was behind the attack, added Ali.

For years, Balochistan has been the scene of a low-level rebellion by small separatist groups and nationalists who complain of discrimination, and demand a fairer share of their province’s resources and wealth.

The bombing in Balochistan happened hours after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vehicle prematurely in a former stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban, killing a married couple in a nearby car.

Local official Rehmant Ullah stated the bombing happened in North Waziristan, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan.

He said a team from the bomb disposal unit was also present nearby when the blast took place, but they escaped unharmed.

“We suspect that the suicide bomber detonated his explosives either by mistake or prematurely, but it killed a man and his wife whose car was near the vehicle of the bomber at the time of the blast,” Ullah added.

It is unclear who dispatched the car bomber to the area, but suspicion is likely to fall on the outlawed Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has stepped up attacks on security forces since last year.

TTP is a separate group but is a close ally of the Afghan Taliban, which seized power in neighbouring Afghanistan in August 2021 as United States and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war.

Although the Pakistani military claims it has cleared the North Waziristan region and other former tribal areas of fighters, the violence has continued, raising concerns that the Pakistani Taliban are regrouping in the area.

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