Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Security officials inspect a wreckage of a vehicle after a blast in Quetta, Pakistan, on Wednesday. — Reuters
QUETTA, Pakistan — A Pakistani Taliban suicide bomber rammed a car into a police truck in the southwestern city of Quetta on Wednesday, killing at least seven people, police said.
The attack killed five police officials and two passers-by on the outskirts of the city of Quetta, police chief Abdur Razzaq Cheema said. He said 22 people were wounded, eight of them critically.
Sarfraz Bugti, the home minister of Baluchistan province, of which Quetta is capital, said: “It was a suicide blast.”
Quetta is about 100 km east of the border with Afghanistan.
Bugti said the truck carrying the police officials was on its way to the city to drop them at their posts when the suicide bomber rammed into the vehicle. Television pictures showed the burnt wreckage of the vehicles.
The Pakistani Taliban, an umbrella organization of various militant groups within Pakistan, and loosely allied to the Afghan Taliban, issued a statement claiming responsibility.
Baluchistan province has long been the scene of an insurgency by separatists fighting against the state to demand more of a share of the gas- and mineral-rich region’s resources. They also accuse the central government of discrimination.
The Taliban and sectarian groups linked to Al-Qaeda and Daesh (the so-called IS) also operate in the strategically important region, which borders Iran as well as Afghanistan.
The violence has fueled concern about security for projects in the $57 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a transport and energy link planned to run from western China to Pakistan’s southern deep-water port of Gwadar.
A suicide bombing claimed by Daesh at a Sufi Muslim shrine this month killed 22 people and wounded more than 30.
Ayub Qureshi, the provincial police chief, said a counterterrorism police officer was shot and killed in another part of Quetta as authorities were dealing with the suicide bombing.
A militant sectarian faction, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Almi, claimed responsibility for killing the counterterrorism official, and for planting a roadside bomb in a northwestern region, that killed two soldiers.
Security officials said a remote-controlled bomb was set off as an army vehicle passed by. — Reuters