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Women, children killed in Pakistan roadside bomb

The Shia-majority Kurram district has been regularly targeted by militants [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 April, 2017

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At least 10 people were killed, including women and children, when a passenger vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Pakistan's northwest tribal region on Tuesday, officials said.
Women and children were among at least 10 people killed when a passenger vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Pakistan's northwest tribal region bordering Afghanistan on Tuesday.

Thirteen others were injured in the blast that 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.

"Among them is a baby and another nine-year-old child. Two women were also killed," doctor Mujahid Khan, a senior health official in the district told AFP.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bomb, although the Kurram tribal district is known for sectarian clashes between Sunnis and Shias, who make up roughly 20 percent of Pakistan's population of 200 million

It has also been a stronghold for the Pakistani Taliban as well as its factions.

Last month, more than 20 people were killed and over 50 wounded when a bomb tore through a market in the mainly Shia area, in an attack claimed by the Taliban.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), a faction of the umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or Pakistani Taliban, swiftly claimed the attack in a message sent to AFP.

In February, a fresh wave of militant violence killed 130 people across Pakistan.

The attacks, most of which were claimed by the Islamic State group or the Pakistani Taliban, included a suicide bomb in Lahore which killed 14 people and was also claimed by JuA.

The latest wave of violence dents nationwide optimism after the country appeared to be making strong gains in its decade-and-a-half long war on militancy.

Pakistan's powerful army launched a crackdown across the country and temporarily closed the border with Afghanistan, which it accused of harbouring the militants who had carried out the attacks.

Politicians also voted to extend legislation creating secret military courts to try civilians on terror charges. The law had expired in January, with the controversial tribunals having hanged 12 people and ordered the executions of 149 more.

But rights activists have slammed the move, calling it part of a "seriously flawed counter terrorism strategy".

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.

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