Sun, 27 Sep 2020

A bomb targeting a vehicle from Pakistan's Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) exploded in a busy market in southwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border on August 10, killing at least five people and wounding 10 others, police and hospital officials said.

Responsibility for the attack in the troubled border town of Chaman was claimed by Jamaat ul-Ahrar (JuA), a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, in a message circulated to journalists in Pakistan.

Authorities say the bomb had been attached to a motorcycle and detonated by remote control.

Zakaullah Durrani, the deputy chief of the Chaman city police, told RFE/RL that all those killed by the explosion were civilians.

Durrani said two members of the ANF also were wounded in the blast and that a total of seven wounded victims had been hospitalized in critical condition.

Security forces and police cordoned off the area. Residents said several shops and vehicles were damaged.

Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack.

The incident follows violence by Pakistani troops who opened fire at a rally in Chaman organized by minority Pashtun workers who were demanding the reopening of the nearby border crossing into Afghanistan. The security forces killed at least three people and wounded 13 in that confrontation.

Shortly after security forces fired on the rally, Pakistani and Afghan troops in the area also exchanged fire. Both sides accused the other of firing first.

Afghan officials said nine people were killed in the cross-border fire.

The border crossing near Chaman has been closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, preventing Pashtun residents from crossing into Afghanistan to work as day laborers.

With reporting by AP and dpa

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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