QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — A powerful blast at a home in a remote town in southwestern Pakistan near neighboring Afghanistan killed a Taliban-linked cleric and at least one of his family members, police and a government official said Friday.
More than 10 people, including women and children, were wounded in Thursday night’s blast in Qillah Saifullah town in southwestern Baluchistan province, according to deputy commissioner Shafqat Shahwali.
The blast took place when a bomb or explosive device was being loaded in a vehicle, said Mohammad Yousaf, the police chief in Qillah Saifullah. Yousaf said some of the wounded were in the hospital listed in critical condition.
He identified the slain cleric as Habibullah Khan, who was known for publicly expressing his support to the Afghan Taliban.
Rescuers found some body parts from the debris of the house, which collapsed following the blast. The slain cleric’s relatives told authorities that five people, who were present in the house at the time of the blast, were still missing, Shahwali told reporters.
He said that those body parts could be of some of the missing people.
Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan province, the scene of a low-level insurgency by Baluch separatist groups that demand a greater share of the province’s resources.
The province is also believed to be a hiding place for the Afghan Taliban and Pakistani militant groups.