Steph Deschamps / March 6, 2023
At least nine policemen were killed and 16 wounded Monday in a suicide attack targeting the truck carrying them in southwestern Pakistan, police told AFP.
The bomber was riding a motorcycle and hit the truck from behind,” said Abdul Hai Aamir, a senior local police official. The attack took place in Dhadar in Kacchi district, about 120 kilometers southeast of Quetta, capital of Balochistan province.
The death toll could rise as eight of the injured are in critical condition, Abdul Hai Aamir said.
Mehmood Notezai, the police chief of Kacchi district, told AFP that the victims were returning from a neighboring district, where they had been protecting an agricultural fair for a week.
Balochistan is the large, poor and sparsely populated province in southwestern Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and Iran. It has long been the scene of ethnic, sectarian and separatist violence.
The province is rich in hydrocarbons and minerals, but its population of about 12 million complains that it is marginalized and robbed of its natural resources.
Tensions in Balochistan revolve around the massive China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), on which China is expected to spend more than $50 billion, with the Gwadar deepwater port as its flagship.
The police are regularly targeted by local rebel movements or by the Pakistani Taliban of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Pakistan has been facing a deteriorating security situation in recent months, particularly since the Taliban took power in Kabul in August 2021, especially in the border regions with Afghanistan.