UPDATE - 13 laborers killed in landmine blast in NW Pakistan

UPDATE - 13 laborers killed in landmine blast in NW Pakistan

Van carrying laborers hits landmine in troubled North Waziristan tribal region

UPDATES WITH RISE IN DEATH TOLL, CHANGES HEADER, LEAD

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - At least 13 laborers were killed and several others injured in a landmine explosion in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region near Afghanistan’s border, an official said on Sunday.

The incident took place in the restive North Waziristan tribal district, where a van carrying over a dozen laborers hit a landmine in the Shawal area on Saturday night, the district administrative head Rehan Gul told reporters.

District police chief Naik Muhammad confirmed the death toll, saying two laborers were also injured in the terrorist attack.

Earlier, the police had put the death toll at 11.

The van was heading to the neighboring district of South Waziristan.

There were no immediate details about the claim of responsibility.

North Waziristan, dubbed the "heartland of militancy," is one of seven former semi-autonomous tribal regions in Pakistan where the army has conducted a series of operations since 2014 to eliminate the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella terrorist organization made up of several militant groups.

Successive operations have pushed the TTP towards neighboring Afghanistan, and Islamabad claims the terrorist network has now set up bases across the border to attack Pakistani security forces.

In contrast to Islamabad's hopes for a further decrease in attacks from the bordering areas following the return of the Afghan Taliban back to power in August 2021, the army has continued to face a series of deadly attacks.

Pakistan is believed to have a degree of influence over the Afghan Taliban.

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