A suicide bomber detonated his explosives Sunday near a security checkpoint in restive southwestern Pakistan, killing at least three paramilitary troops and wounding 15 others, police said.
Senior police officer Azhar Akram said the attacker had walked toward the checkpoint manned by the paramilitary Frontier Corps on Quetta-Mastung Road, some 25 kilometers south of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province. He said body parts were found at a distance from the security post after the bombing.
Akram said some of the wounded were in critical condition and the death toll could rise.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the morning attack but Baluch separatist groups have claimed similar assaults on security forces. The banned Baluch Liberation Army and Baluch Liberation Front have been engaged in a low-level insurgency for nearly two decades calling for independence for the gas and mineral rich province. Islamic militants also have a presence in the region.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack.
“Condemn the TTP suicide attack on FC checkpost, Mastung road, Quetta. My condolences go to the families of the martyrs & prayers for the recovery of the injured. Salute our security forces & their sacrifices to keep us safe by thwarting foreign-backed terrorists’ designs,” he wrote on Twitter.
Baluchistan, bordering Iran and Afghanistan, is a key province in southwest Pakistan, where China has been working on projects related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The projects, including road construction, power plants and agricultural development, have cost billions of dollars.
China has in recent years also played a key role in developing the deep-water port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea. But there have been attacks on Pakistanis and Chinese working on the economic corridor projects.
A suicide bomber last month detonated his explosives near a vehicle carrying Chinese workers, killing two Pakistani children playing by the roadside and wounding a Chinese national and two other Pakistanis in the port city of Gwadar.
Suspected separatists also last month hurled a hand grenade at a store selling national flags in Quetta, killing one man and wounding four others who were buying flags to celebrate Pakistan’s Independence Day.