Khyber PakhtoonKhuwa

10 killed as landmine blast hits passenger van in Kurram

KURRAM AGENCY: At least 10 people were killed and over eight injured when a landmine blast hit a passenger van in early hours of Tuesday, ARY News reported.

The injured and the bodies were moved to Tehsil Headquarters Hospital, Kurram. The deceased persons also include two children and a woman.

The blast tore through the heavily-loaded pickup truck in the Godar area of Kurram tribal district early in the morning, according to Irfan Ali, a local administration official in the area.

The explosion hit a passenger van that was en route to Sadda from Gudar. It is learnt that the blast was remote-controlled.

There were conflicting reports about casualties in the incident, as sources in the hospital staff said the death toll could be around a dozen, while district administration kept the toll at six.

Sources told that four of the injured persons were in critical condition.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bomb.

The semi-autonomous tribal areas on the Afghan border have for years been a hideout for militants of all stripes, including Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban as well as foreign fighters such as Uzbeks and Uighurs.

Pakistan began a long-awaited push to clear insurgent bases from North Waziristan in June 2014 after a bloody Taliban attack on Karachi airport finally sank faltering peace talks.

AFP adds: The Kurram tribal district is known for sectarian clashes, and it has also been a stronghold for the Pakistani Taliban as well as its factions.

Parachinar, the district capital, was the location of the first major militant attack in Pakistan in 2017, a marketplace bomb which killed 24 people in January and was claimed by the Pakistani Taliban.

The same group claimed a car bomb attack in the district in March that killed at least 22 people.

The area also continues to suffer from a high casualty rate linked to landmines placed by Soviet forces in Pakistani border towns during their war in Afghanistan that began in 1979 and ended ten years later.

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