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Blast leaves six dead, eight injured in Pakistan

Pakistani anti-narcotics force personnel stand in front of a pile of burning illegal drugs during a ceremony organized by the Anti-Narcotic Force (ANF) in Islamabad on December 5, 2017. More than 45 percent of Afghanistan’s illicit opiates pass through Pakistan on their way to markets in Europe and Asia, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. / AFP PHOTO / FAROOQ NAEEM

A roadside bomb killed at least six people and wounded eight others on Tuesday in Pakistan’s restive northwestern tribal area bordering Afghanistan, officials said.

The blast took place in North Waziristan, one of the country’s seven semi-autonomous tribal districts, where the army has been battling Taliban militants.

“The casualties came from a bomb planted in a motorcycle parked on a roadside in Khadi market of Mir Ali town,” Kamran Khan Afridi, a senior administration official in the area, told AFP.

“The blast targeted two vehicles passing along the road. Six people who died and eight who were injured are believed to be the vehicles’ passengers,” he said.

Local government and security officials also confirmed the attack and casualties.

Mir Ali town and neighbouring Miranshah, North Waziristan’s capital, have long been home to Taliban militants.

Although violence in Pakistan has declined in recent years following a series of military offensives against insurgents along the northwestern border, militant groups are still able to carry out bloody attacks.

In a number of assaults in recent weeks, militants have killed several people in the northwest as well as in southwestern Balochistan province.

Last week, gunmen wearing burkas boarded a rickshaw and killed nine people in an attack on an agriculture institute in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

This latest wave of attacks came as hundreds of people displaced from their homes during the offensives in North Waziristan prepared to return, after the military declared the region safe.

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