On Sunday (20 August), a Pakistani police official said that 13 labourers were killed and two others sustained injuries in a late-night explosion in the Shawal area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s North Waziristan district.
While speaking with Pakistani news outlet Dawn, North Waziristan District Police Officer Naik Muhammad confirmed the death toll. The police officer stated that the incident took place in Shawal region which is near the Pak-Afghan border. He added that the van in which the labourers were travelling was completely destroyed by the suspected improvised explosive device (IED) blast.
The authorities quickly suspended all mobile services in the area in view of security concerns.
Speaking to Reuters, Deputy Commissioner of North Waziristan, Rehan Khattak said, “They were working at an army post that is under construction. An IED exploded under a vehicle carrying the labourers.”
According to the Police officials, the private vehicle carrying 16 labourers hit a landmine in the Gull Meer Kor area. Following the blast, the injured as well as the dead bodies were rushed towards a nearby hospital.
As per a local leader Yar Gul, the terrorists wanted to target a convoy of security forces and had planted a bomb along the roadside.
Among those who have lost their lives, 11 labourers hailed from the Mehsud tribe belonging to the Spin Kamar area of the district. The other two deceased labourers belonged to South Waziristan’s Lower Ahmedzai Wazir area.
Following the terror attack, Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar strongly condemned the attack. Taking to X, he said, “Strongly condemn this senseless act of violence and stand in solidarity with the families affected.”
Heartbreaking to know about the terrorist attack in North Waziristan which claimed the lives of 11 innocent laborers. Strongly condemn this senseless act of violence and stand in solidarity with the families affected.
— Anwaar ul Haq Kakar (@anwaar_kakar) August 19, 2023
No terrorist organisation had immediately claimed responsibility for the blast. However, Pakistan has repeatedly blamed Afghanistan for a string of deadly attacks in their tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, reported Aljazeera.
Senior Pakistani officials have accused Taliban of not doing enough to control the movement of armed groups from crossing the porous border. However, the Taliban has rejected all these allegations labelled against them by Pakistani officials.
A string of attacks in Pakistan
Earlier, on the 12th of August, two people lost their lives in targeted attacks in the same district. Prior to that, on 8 August, four people including two policemen were killed in separate attacks in the district and Peshawar.
Last month, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police stated that between June 18, 2022, and June 18, 2023, more than 665 militant attacks were reported in the province. Out of these 15 were reported cases of suicide bombings.
A Pakistani think tank named Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies recently released a report stating that more than 389 people have lost their lives in just the first half of the current year.