A file picture showing people being checked by the border police in Chaman, Pakistan. EPA/EFE/FILE/AKHTER GULFAM

11 killed, 2 wounded in landmine blast in northwestern Pakistan

Islamabad, Aug 20 (EFE).- Eleven laborers were killed while two others were wounded as the vehicle they were traveling in hit a landmine planted on a road in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, officials said Sunday.

The incident occurred late Saturday in Shawal area of the tribal North Waziristan district, according to the local police.

“Eleven laborers, who were working on a security check post, were returning from work when their van hit a landmine at around 6pm” Hashim Khan, an official at the local Razmak police station, told EFE.

He added the laborers belonged to different tribes in North Waziristan and South Waziristan districts bordering Afghanistan.

No militant group has claimed responsibility for planting the landmine.

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar condemned the incident and expressed solidarity with the bereaved families.

“Heartbreaking to know about the terrorist attack in North Waziristan which claimed the lives of 11 innocent laborers,” the premier said in a post on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Pakistan has seen a surge in terrorism-related incidents since the return to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan in August 2021, coinciding with the US pullout from the country.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan armed group, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, announced in December the end of a ceasefire agreed with the government almost a year ago,

According to a report by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, militancy-related incidents rose by 79 percent during the first half of the year compared to the corresponding period of 2022.

The report stated that 271 militant attacks occurred from January to June, claiming 389 lives.

In the first six months of 2022, 150 attacks killed 293 people and injured 487. The second half of 2022 recorded 228 attacks, resulting in 246 fatalities. EFE