QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — A bomb targeting an anti-drug force tore through a busy market in southwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border on Monday, killing at least five people and wounding 10 others, police and hospital officials said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the explosion in the border town of Chaman, which was caused by a bomb attached to a motorcycle. The bombing targeted a unit tasked with combating narcotics smuggling. Mohammad Ali, a local police official, said some of the wounded were in critical condition.
Security forces and police cordoned off the area of the blast, where residents said several shops and vehicles were damaged.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the bombing and said he was praying for the recovery of those wounded.
The attack came more than a week after Pakistani troops opened fire at a rally in the town organized by minority Pashtun laborers to demand the reopening of the border crossing. The security forces killed at least three people and wounded 13.
The crossing has been closed since March because of coronavirus restrictions, preventing Pashtun residents from crossing into Afghanistan to work as day laborers.
Shortly after security forces fired on the rally, Pakistani and Afghan troops in the area exchanged fire. Both sides accused the other of firing first, and Afghan officials said nine people were killed.
It was not immediately known who was behind the bombing or whether it was related to the recent tensions. Southwestern Pakistan is home to ethnic Baluchi separatist groups as well as Islamic militants, both of whom have been blamed for past attacks.
The Anti-Narcotics Force, commonly known as ANF, is the principal agency for combating narcotics smuggling. Its officers are stationed in Pakistan’s remote border regions with Afghanistan and Iran.