Suicide bomber prematurely detonates explosives in northwest Pakistan, killing a husband and wife

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A suicide bomber apparently detonated his explosives-laden vehicle prematurely in a former stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban on Monday, killing a married couple in a nearby car, officials said.

A local administration official, Rehmant Ullah, said the bombing happened in North Waziristan, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of northwest Pakisan, bordering Afghanistan.

He said a team from the bomb disposal unit was also present nearby when the blast took place but they escaped unharmed.

“We suspect that the suicide bomber detonated his explosives either by mistake or prematurely, but it killed a man and his wife whose car was near the vehicle of the bomber at the time of the blast,” he said.

It is unclear who dispatched the car bomber to the area, but suspicion is likely to fall on the outlawed Pakistani Taliban, who are known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, and who have stepped up attacks on security forces since last year.

TTP is a separate group but is a close ally of the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in neighboring Afghanistan in August 2021 as U.S. and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war.

Although the Pakistani military claims it has cleared the North Waziristan region and other former tribal areas in the northwest of militants, the violence has continued, raising concerns that the Pakistani Taliban are regrouping in the area.

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