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Pakistan says attack that killed Chinese was a suicide bombing

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By Reuters
Pakistan foreign min says bus attack that killed 9 Chinese workers was suicide bombing
Pakistan foreign min says bus attack that killed 9 Chinese workers was suicide bombing   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

By Asif Shahzad

ISLAMABAD -A bus attack last month that killed nine Chinese workers was a suicide bombing carried out by Islamist militants backed by Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Thursday.

The minister said an investigation into the attack showed there was a “nexus of Indian RAW and Afghan NDS“ in the attack, referring to India’s and Afghanistan’s intelligence agencies.

Qureshi, addressing a news conference in Islamabad together with a top investigator, said Pakistan has data evidence to back the allegation that the intelligence agencies from the two neighbours were involved.

Officials from the Indian and Afghan foreign ministries could not immediately be reached for comment.

Qureshi said that Pakistani Taliban militants – known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella movement of militant groups linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State – carried out the attack on July 14 with the backing of the two intelligence agencies.

“As per our investigation the Afghan soil was used for this incident… about its planning and its execution we’re seeing a clear nexus between NDS and RAW,” Qureshi said.

NDS is Afghan intelligence agency while RAW is India’s spy network.

The blast hit a bus carrying the Chinese workers on their way to a dam construction site in northern Pakistan.

Pakistan and India are longtime arch-rivals and frequently trade accusations – which both sides deny – that the other country is behind attacks.

Pakistan originally blamed a mechanical failure for the blast but later said traces of explosives were detected and that it could not rule out an attack.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang urged his Pakistani counterpart last month to hold accountable the culprits in what he called a terrorist attack.

Chinese investigators have been involved in the probe, Qureshi said.