Pakistani Taliban suicide bomber rams police truck, kills 7

Security officials inspect a wreckage of a vehicle after a blast in Quetta, Pakistan on October 18, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 18 October 2017
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Pakistani Taliban suicide bomber rams police truck, kills 7

QUETTA: A Pakistani Taliban suicide bomber rammed a car into a police truck in the southwestern city of Quetta on Wednesday, killing at least seven people, police said.
The attack killed five police officials and two passers-by on the outskirts of the city of Quetta, police chief Abdur Razzaq Cheema said. He said 22 people were wounded, eight of them critically.
Sarfraz Bugti, the home minister of Baluchistan province, of which Quetta is capital, told Reuters: “It was a suicide blast.”
Quetta is about 100 km (60 miles) east of the border with Afghanistan.
Bugti said the truck carrying the police officials was on its way to the city to drop them at their posts when the suicide bomber rammed into the vehicle. Television pictures showed the burnt wreckage of the vehicles.
The Pakistani Taliban, an umbrella organization of various militant groups within Pakistan, and loosely allied to the Afghan Taliban, issued a statement claiming responsibility.
Baluchistan province has long been the scene of an insurgency by separatists fighting against the state to demand more of a share of the gas- and mineral-rich region’s resources. They also accuse the central government of discrimination.
The Taliban, sectarian groups and other militants linked to Al-Qaeda and the Daesh group also operate in the strategically important region, which borders Iran as well as Afghanistan.
The violence has fueled concern about security for projects in the $57 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a transport and energy link planned to run from western China to Pakistan’s southern deep-water port of Gwadar.
A suicide bombing claimed by Daesh at a Sufi Muslim shrine this month killed 22 people and wounded more than 30.
Ayub Qureshi, the provincial police chief, said a counter-terrorism police officer was shot and killed in another part of Quetta as authorities were dealing with the suicide bombing.
A militant sectarian faction, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Almi, claimed responsibility for killing the counter-terrorism official, and for planting a roadside bomb in a northwestern region, that killed two soldiers.
Security officials said a remote-controlled bomb was set off as an army vehicle passed by.


Cobra Gold: One of Asia’s largest war drills opens in Thailand

Updated 31 min 57 sec ago
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Cobra Gold: One of Asia’s largest war drills opens in Thailand

  • Cobra Gold is one of the largest military exercises in Asia
  • On Saturday US, Thai and South Korean forces descended on Namsai beach in Chonburi province in a joint drill intended to simulate securing the territory

SATTAHIP, Thailand: With weapons drawn camouflaged troops leapt out of amphibious assault craft while explosions sounded and parachutists glided in from above as the annual Cobra Gold war games took over a placid Thai beach Saturday.
Now in its 38th year, Cobra Gold is one of the largest military exercises in Asia, bringing thousands of forces from the United States, Thailand and other countries together for 11 days of training on Thai shores.
This year’s drill includes some 2,000 US Marines, 1,000 US soldiers and hundreds from the country’s Navy and Air Force.
On Saturday US, Thai and South Korean forces descended on Namsai beach in Chonburi province in a joint drill intended to simulate securing the territory.
Captain Melvin Spiese said the goal was to “bring power from ship to shore” and be ready for “any kind of future crisis we might need to respond to with our Thai counterparts.”
Helicopters buzzed overhead and fighter jets roared across the skies.
Cobra Gold exercises span air, land and sea and feature a jungle survivalist session where participants take turns drinking blood from a severed cobra and snacking on insects and scorpions.
Singapore, Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia also took part in the war games.
A 2014 army coup in Thailand tested ties with Washington and the kingdom tilted towards China with high-profile arms buys.
But US military sales continued and the two countries have upped their engagement under US President Donald Trump, who has stepped back on human rights issues and invited junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha to the White House.
Prayut, who led the 2014 coup, is standing for prime minister in elections set for March 24.