PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A suicide bomber prematurely detonated his explosive-laden vehicle Monday at a former Pakistani Taliban stronghold, killing a married couple in a nearby car, officials said.
A local government official, Rehmant Ullah, said the bombing took place in North Waziristan, a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in northwest Pakisan, bordering Afghanistan.
He said a bomb disposal squad was also nearby when the blast happened, but they escaped unharmed.
“We suspect the suicide bomber detonated his explosives accidentally or prematurely, but it killed a man and his wife whose car was near the bomber’s vehicle at the time of the detonation,” he said.
It is unclear who sent the car bomber to the area, but suspicion will likely fall on the outlawed Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, who have continued attacks on security forces since last year. stepped up. .
TTP is a separate group but is a close ally of the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in neighboring Afghanistan in August 2021 as US and NATO forces were in the final stages of their withdrawal from the country after 20 years of war .
Although the Pakistani military claims it has cleared the North Waziristan region and other former tribal areas in the northwest of militants, violence continues, raising concerns that the Pakistani Taliban are regrouping in the area.