South Asia

Suicide bombing kills five Chinese nationals in Pakistan, police say

A suicide bombing targeted a convoy carrying Chinese nationals in northwest Pakistan, killing five Chinese and their Pakistani driver, a senior police official said as quoted by Pakistani media.

The attack occurred when a vehicle loaded with explosives struck the convoy of Chinese engineers traveling from Islamabad to their camp in Dasu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said Mohammad Ali Gandapur, the regional police chief, on Tuesday.

Dasu, the site of a significant dam project, has experienced violence in the past, including a 2021 bus explosion that resulted in 13 deaths, nine of whom were Chinese nationals.

Following the incident, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police initiated relief operations, ensuring the safety of the remaining convoy members, Gandapur confirmed.

This violence came on the heels of an assault on a Pakistan naval airbase in Turbat, southwestern Pakistan, where armed militants killed at least one paramilitary soldier. Security forces responded, killing all five assailants, officials reported on Tuesday.

The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), a separatist group from Balochistan, claimed responsibility for the naval base attack. The BLA has targeted Pakistani and Chinese interests in the past, underscoring the ongoing separatist conflict in the region.

China’s investments in Balochistan, including the development of the Gwadar port, are part of the broader China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a key component of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative. The region’s strategic importance is underscored by its vast mineral resources and geopolitical position, bordering Afghanistan and Iran.