PESHAWAR, Pakistan – At least 4 dead and 20 injured in a suicide attack in southwest Balochistan province early Sunday, officials said.
A frontier paramilitary corps convoy was attacked while changing service at a security post, Azhar Akram, a senior police officer in Balochistan’s capital, Quetta, told a news conference.
He said the attacker used a motorcycle to approach the paramilitary force in charge of security in Balochistan, a troubled province in northwestern Pakistan bordering southern Afghanistan.
More than 13 pounds of explosives were used in the explosion, he said, adding that body parts were found some distance from the security post after the bombing.
The militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as Pakistan’s Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack. The TTP is a separate organization from the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan.
“Our Fidaee (suicide bomber) had placed explosives on the motorcycle and rammed it into the military convoy in Quetta,” TTP spokesman Mohammad Khurasani told NBC News on Sunday from an undisclosed location. “The security forces were about to go on patrol when they were attacked,” he said.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan sentenced the attack on Twitter.
“My condolences go to the families of the martyrs and I pray for the recovery of the injured,” said Khan. “Greet our security forces and their victims to protect us by thwarting the plans of foreign terrorists.”
The attack came just weeks after the Afghan Taliban marched into the capital Kabul unopposed, without firing a shot.
The TTP renewed its loyalty to the Afghan Taliban when it ousted the West-backed government and recently stepped up its campaign against the Pakistani army.
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Islamabad fears an increase in militant attacks along the Afghan-Pakistani border as the Afghan Taliban try to fill a vacuum left by the collapse of the Afghan government.
However, the leaders of the Afghan Taliban have assured their neighbors and other countries that their territory will not be used to plan attacks on foreign soil.
There was no immediate response to the attack by the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan, which is due to form a new government this week.
Mushtaq Yusufzai reported from Peshawar, Pakistan. Yuliya Talmazan from London.