Four police officers were killed and nine people wounded when militants detonated a bomb hidden under a motorbike in the southwestern Pakistan city of Quetta, police said on Monday, May 13.
Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan, the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Two of the wounded were also police, senior police official Abdul Razaq Cheema told AFP.
“Two of the injured are critical,” he added.
The motorbike was parked outside a mosque where police personnel were posted in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province.
The attack came days after Baloch Liberation Army separatists attacked a luxury hotel in Balochistan’s second city, Gwadar. Five people including a soldier died in the hotel attack.
The violence comes during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest and poorest province, has been rocked by ethnic Baloch separatist, Islamist and sectarian insurgencies for years.
The Pakistani military has been battling militants there since 2004, and security forces are frequently targeted. Rights activists accuse the military of abuses, which it denies.
Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, is key to the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of China’s Belt and Road initiative.
CPEC seeks to connect China’s western Xinjiang province with Gwadar, with the development of the port as the plan’s flagship project. Gwadar will provide China with safer and more direct access to the oil-rich Middle East than the waterway trade route it currently uses through the narrow Malacca Straits.
In April, Iran and Pakistan agreed to set up a joint border “reaction force” following deadly attacks by militant groups along their frontier.
With reporting from AFP