QUETTA, Pakistan (AFP) – A bomb targeting police and claimed by the Taliban killed at least five people and wounded five others in Pakistan's restive southwest on Monday, police said.
The attack was staged in Pishin district, 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province which is racked by a separatist insurgency and Islamist violence.
"The bomb was planted underneath the police van, which exploded while the officials were performing routine checks, killing five people including three policemen and two civilians," district police chief Mehboob Rasheed told AFP.
He said the blast also wounded five people including passengers of a minibus.
A senior local administration official, Zahid bin Maqsood, confirmed the incident and the casualties.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed the attack.
"We attacked the police in Baluchistan today to avenge killing of our men by the army in a recent staged encounter," in the country's northwest, TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.
Baluchistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, is believed to have substantial oil and gas reserves. But it is one of the country's most unstable areas and attacks on police and troops are common.
The province has been the focal point of rising violence against Pakistan's Shiite Muslim minority. It also suffers from a decade-long insurgency by Baluch nationalists who want greater autonomy and a larger share of oil and gas revenues.