UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The brother of Afghan Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada was among at least four people killed in a bomb blast on Friday in a mosque in southwestern Pakistan, two Taliban sources told Reuters.
Police said more than 20 people were wounded in the attack, adding that the death toll could rise. Police said the imam of the mosque, 25 km from Quetta, was killed in the blast.
No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, which took place at a time when the Taliban and the United States have reached the final stages of negotiations on an agreement that will allow the United States to end its longest wars and withdraw from Afghanistan.
The Taliban leader was not at the mosque at the time of the attack, but his brother Hafiz Ahmadullah was among the dead. One source said the Taliban leader’s son was also wounded.
“We lost the younger brother of Sheikh Hibatullah Akhundzada in a bomb attack,” said a senior Taliban member who declined to be named.
The sources added that the mosque was frequented by members of the Afghan Taliban.
Pakistani police have not confirmed the identity of any of the victims.
“The blast was carried out with a time bomb planted under the wooden bench for the imam,” said Quetta police chief Abdul Razzaq Chmia.
A source who visited the blast site said security at the mosque was tight.
Separatist rebels and Islamist militants are active in Baluchistan, but many in Pakistan will likely suspect the Afghan government fighting the Taliban on the border.
Pakistan also accuses neighboring India of meddling in Baluchistan, a charge New Delhi denies.
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