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Roadside blast in Kurram Agency kills eight

Kurram

AFP with additional input from News Desk |  

A roadside bomb on Tuesday killed eight people including three women and a child in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt near the Afghan border, in the latest attack apparently targeting Shiite Muslims.

The improvised explosive device exploded in the Shiite-dominated Maqbal area of Kurram tribal district as a van carrying nine people drove by.

Pakistan remains a top target for militant groups, despite a dramatic improvement in security in the country at large in recent years due its close proximity with Afghanistan, large parts of which are still under Taliban rule.

Eight passengers including three women and a seven-year-old boy were killed, senior local government official Basir Khan Wazir told AFP.

He said officials were struggling to identify the mutilated victims but initial evidence suggested all the passengers were Shiite Muslims. A local intelligence official confirmed the incident and casualties. 

Read more: Kurram IED blast: Signs of a new terror war to come

Upper Kurram has been the scene of several bomb attacks targeting Shiite Muslims in the past. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but mainly Sunni Muslim Pakistan has frequently been hit by sectarian violence in recent years. 

Sunni militant groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban often attack Shiites, who make up some 20 percent of the population.

A roadside bomb on Tuesday killed eight people including three women and a child in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt near the Afghan border, in the latest attack apparently targeting Shiite Muslims.

Kurram is one of the seven semi-autonomous regions, which form the tribal belt along the Afghan border known as FATA. Militants linked to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda have taken sanctuary there for over a decade.

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The tribal districts are among the poorest areas in Pakistan and often complain of neglect by Islamabad. The FATA reforms bill that attempts to merge Khyber Paktunkhwa and FATA has failed to be brought up within the National Assembly. Recently an amendment extended the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Peshawar High Court to the FATA region in a historic decision.

Pakistan remains a top target for militant groups, despite a dramatic improvement in security in the country at large in recent years due its close proximity with Afghanistan, large parts of which are still under Taliban rule. A recent watchdog report revealed that the Pentagon has prevented them from disclosing the exact area the Taliban controls in Afghanistan.

© Agence France-Presse


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