By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — At least 18 people were killed and 48 injured in a bombing claimed by an affiliate of the Pakistani Taliban in Quetta, southwest Pakistan on April 12, police said.
Police chief Abdur Razzaq Cheema told RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal that explosives were packed in a car parked at a busy vegetable market.
Two children were among the dead and seven were rushed to hospital with injuries, he said.
The bombing appeared to target members of the Shi’ite ethnic Hazara community, Cheema added.
Provincial police chief Mohsin Butt said eight Hazara were among the victims.
Hazara make up about 500,000 of Quetta’s 2.3 million people.
Amnesty International said the blast was a “painful reminder” of the many attacks suffered by the Hazara community in Quetta over the years.
“Each time, there are promises that more will be done to protect them, and each time those promises have failed to materialize,” Omar Waraich, Amnesty’s deputy director for South Asia, said in a statement.
The Qari Hussain Force, an affiliate of the Pakistani Taliban, also known as the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), later claimed responsibility for the attack.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi issued statements condemning the attack and adding that it would not weaken “the resolve of the nation in the fight against terrorism.”
Jam Kamal Khan, the chief minister of Balochistan Province, condemned the attack, saying “the enemy of humanity is behind this act of terrorism.”
Quetta is the capital of Balochistan, where separatist groups have waged a low-level insurgency.
Pakistani Taliban militants have been waging a campaign of bombings and other attacks on Pakistani security forces.