Quetta (AFP): Two explosions targeting military personnel on a passenger train killed at least three people and wounded 13 others in Pakistan’s troubled southwestern Balochistan province Friday, officials said.
The attack, claimed by the separatist Baloch Liberation Army, came as the Rawalpindi-bound Jaffer Express was passing the town of Much, 55 kilometres (35 miles) east of Balochistan’s provincial capital Quetta.
“The explosions damaged two passenger carriages and killed three people besides wounding 13 others,” senior local Pakistan Railways official Imtiaz Ahmad told AFP.
Provincial home secretary Akbar Harifal also confirmed the incident and casualties.
“We have rushed the rescue teams to the accident site,” he said, adding the identity of the passengers was not immediately clear.
Oil and gas rich Balochistan borders Iran and Afghanistan, and has been roiled for years by violent separatist, sectarian and Islamist insurgencies.
The Pakistani military is accused of committing widespread abuses in the fight against the insurgents, which it denies.
A spokesman for the Baloch Liberation Army said the attack had targeted “military personnel who travel to Rawalpindi by this train”.
Balochistan is also the site of China’s ambitious $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor infrastructure project linking its western province of Xinjiang to the Arabian Sea via Pakistan.
Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif “strongly condemned the attack and directed authorities concerned to find the culprits and bring them to task immediately,” an official statement said.