QUETTA: At least seven, including five policemen, were martyred as an explosion ripped through a police truck on Wednesday in Quetta. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesperson Muhammad Kharasani said in a statement the attack was a suicide bomb targeting the paramilitary Frontier Corps.
Security forces said at least 22, including over 15 policemen, were also injured in the attack. “It was a suicide explosion,” police sources told The Express Tribune. Police were the target of the attack, the sources added.
The truck was carrying police recruits, five of whom were martyred, along with two passers-by on the city’s eastern outskirts, Quetta Police Chief Abdur Razzaq Cheema said.
Initial investigation suggested that some 50 kilograms of explosive was used in the explosion, added police.
Strongly condemning the attack, Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri said that no such cowardly acts would be able to demotivate police and security officials from acting against terrorism. He said the ongoing fight against terrorism would continue until the elimination of the last terrorist from our soil.
President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi have strongly deplored the attack, and directed authorities to provide best medical treatment to the injured. Terror attacks cannot shake our unflinching national resolve against terrorism and extremism, reiterated the premier while paying rich tributes to the police officials who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
Governor Balochistan Muhammad Khan Achakzai and Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri also strongly condemned the terror attack. PTI chief Imran Khan also expressed his disdain for the attack.
Sympathising with the bereaved families, the premier prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls and grant of courage to the families to bear this irreparable loss
The attack comes at a time when there is an upsurge in terrorist violence, and following a major operation performed by US and Afghanistan at the Kurram Agency border shared between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan have been performing their vigilante duty on the border and carrying operations against the terrorists in the region.
The Resolute Support Mission (RSM) and Afghan forces have mounted a military offensive against the Taliban and their affiliates in eastern Afghanistan opposite the Kurram Agency border, the military said, amid reports that two days of aerial strikes have inflicted heavy losses on terrorists
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement that because of the enhanced coordination between Pakistan and Afghanistan and timely sharing of details about the operation, the Pakistan Army is vigilant on its side of the border. The statement came as reports emerged on Tuesday that the death toll from aerial strikes in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region has risen to 31 in two days. The military confirmed there was no violation of Pakistan’s airspace.
“Military operation[s] are being conducted in Khost and Paktia… opposite the Kurram Agency of Pakistan, the ISPR said. “During last 24 hours, a number of air engagements have taken place in those areas inside Afghanistan with reports of heavy losses to terrorists.” The military’s media wing said that following the recent visit to Afghanistan by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa coordination between the forces of the two neighboring countries had enhanced.