Police officials say the labourers, working on an under-construction army post, were killed when their truck exploded.
At least 11 labourers have been killed in an attack in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded under their vehicle, government officials said.
The attack in North Waziristan’s Shawal Valley, 300km (190 miles) southwest of capital Islamabad, was confirmed by Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
Heartbreaking to know about the terrorist attack in North Waziristan which claimed the lives of 11 innocent laborers. Strongly condemn this senseless act of violence and stand in solidarity with the families affected.
— Anwaar ul Haq Kakar (@anwaar_kakar) August 19, 2023
Security and police officials in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province said a suspected IED detonated, tearing through a truck carrying the workers to a construction project in Waziristan district, near the Afghan border.
“They were working at an army post that is under construction … an IED exploded under a vehicle carrying the labourers,” deputy commissioner of North Waziristan, Rehan Khattak, told Reuters news agency.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast.
Pakistan has seen a resurgence of attacks by armed groups since last year, when a ceasefire between the outlawed group Pakistan Taliban, known by the acronym TTP, and the government broke down.
Other armed groups, including ISIL (ISIS), have also claimed responsibility for some attacks, including a large blast at a political rally in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Bajaur district held by a religious group last month that killed 63. The Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP or ISIS-K), an ISIL affiliate, was said to be behind the attack.
Islamabad has blamed Kabul for a string of deadly attacks in Pakistan’s tribal region bordering Afghanistan. Top Pakistani officials accuse the Taliban administration of not doing enough to control the movement of armed groups from crossing the porous border.
However, the Taliban administration has rejected the Pakistani allegations.
“After the recent security incident in Pakistan, officials have once again blamed Afghans instead of strengthening the security of their country,” Zabihullah Mujahid, chief spokesman for the Taliban administration, said in a statement earlier this month.
More than 300 attacks have hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province this year alone, according to official data, with a vast majority of them claimed by the TTP.
The TTP was founded in 2007 and is ideologically aligned with the Afghan Taliban, but it appears to operate independently.
Among its many demands, the Pakistan Taliban seeks stricter enforcement of Islamic laws, the release of its members in government custody, and a reduced Pakistani military presence in parts of the tribal regions along the Afghan border.
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