ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up near a military vehicle carrying a brigadier and two junior officers in a former tribal region in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, wounding all three, officials said.
The attack took place on a bridge in the town of Ladha in South Waziristan, a former tribal region, which until recent years served as a base for the Taliban and foreign militants, according to Shaukat Ali, district police chief.
He said the wounded soldiers were transported to a hospital, where two of them were listed in critical condition. According to intelligence officials, the military vehicle was badly damaged in the attack.
Shortly after the attack, Mohammad Khurasani, a spokesman Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack in Ladha, a town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan.
Pakistan has carried out a number of operations in the country’s rugged northwest in recent years. The government has repeatedly claimed the areas were cleared of insurgents, but violence there has continued.
According to a recently released U.N. report, more than 6,000 Pakistani insurgents are hiding in Afghanistan, most belonging to the outlawed Pakistani Taliban group, which often attacks Pakistani military and civilian targets.
The report says the group, known as TTP, has linked up with an Afghan-based affiliate of the Islamic State group. Some of TTP’s members have even joined the IS affiliate, which has its headquarters in eastern Afghanistan.