Taliban attack kills 6 in Pakistan, including census workers

Taliban attack kills 6 in Pakistan, including census workers

LAHORE, Pakistan — A Taliban suicide bomber detonated his explosives near a vehicle carrying census workers in eastern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing six people — two data collectors and four soldiers who were escorting them, a government spokesman and police said.

The attack took place on the outskirts of Lahore, the capital of Punjab province, said Malik Ahmad Khan, the provincial government spokesman. The border with India is several kilometres (miles) away from the site of the explosion.

A local police official, Mohammad Afzal, said that along with the six killed, 15 people were wounded in the blast.

TV stations aired footage showing the census workers’ badly destroyed vehicle. The blast was so powerful that it also damaged nearby shops.

Mohammad Khurasani, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the group sought to target Pakistan’s “impure army” that he called a “slave of America.” The militant group’s chief, Mullah Fazlullah, who is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan, ordered the attack, the spokesman said.

Since Islamabad threw its support behind the United States in its war against terror in 2001, the Pakistani Taliban, al-Qaida and other militant groups have killed thousands of people in a bid to overthrow the Pakistani government and install their own harsh interpretation of Islamic law.

Pakistan’s military has carried out scores of operations, killing thousands of suspected militants.

Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, later paid tribute to the victims of attack.

He pledged the census will be completed at any cost and that the sacrifices by the troops and civilians would strengthen the country’s resolve to fight terrorism.

Rana Sanaullah, a Cabinet member in the Punjab government, said attacks like Wednesday’s are being planned and executed by militants from Afghanistan — an often repeated claim by Islamabad.

Kabul denies it is sheltering any militant groups but various extremist factions use the porous Afghan-Pakistan border for cross-border attacks and often find sanctuaries on the other side

Pakistan launched the national census last month, the country’s first in 19 years. Khan said the census would continue despite the attack.

Tens of thousands of data collectors, supported by 200,000 Pakistani soldiers, go door-to-door for the project, which is to be finished by May 15. However, societal conservatism and a lack of women census takers could result in Pakistan’s female population being under-represented.

___

Ahmed reported from Islamabad. Associated Press Writer Ishtiaq Mahsud contributed to this report from Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan.

Zaheer Babar And Munir Ahmed, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Saanich Peninsula French Immersion grads welcome new students

School District 63 ceremony marks student transition

Former Green candidate Veronica Greer running for seat on Esquimalt council

2017 B.C. election hopeful looks to bring LGBTQ lens to municipal politics

Celebrate Earth Day with Surfrider

Beach cleanup and social gathering Sunday at Clover Point

Green Team tackles weeds in North Saanich

Greater Victoria group working to connect people with local green groups

Sooke to host Western Canada’s first all-female boxing card

58 fighters from across North America to be featured at April 28 and 29 event

New play examines Indigenous identity

Belfry Theatres Salt Baby coming to Victoria April 17 - May 13

B.C. town No. 1 honeymoon destination worldwide

Vernon came out on top in Expedia.ca’s list of top 18 honeymoon destinations worldwide

Spring Home Show this weekend in Colwood

West Shore Parks and Recreation will be transformed to showcase everything home related

Men arrested at Starbucks say they feared for their lives

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks, becomign viral video

Olympic gold now official for B.C. weightlifter

Christine Girard’s bronze medal from 2012 Olympics upgraded to gold, IOC announces

Did a Canadian shoot down the Red Baron? A century later, debate hasn’t quit

Om April 21, 1918 two Canadians in their canvas-covered Sopwith Camel biplanes engaged the enemy

VIDEO: Canadian teen lands invite to Royal wedding

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have invited Faith Dickinson, founder of Cuddles for Cancer

B.C. liquor server wage to be phased out by 2021

Piece work pay for farm workers rises, but stays in place for now

Vancouver Whitecaps sign 16-year-old B.C. player

Grade 10 student from Langley joins MLS club

Most Read