Four killed in Taliban bomb attack at Pakistan hotel hosting Chinese ambassador

Sophia Yan
·2-min read
The bomb detonated in Quetta, the provincial capital of Pakistan's Balochistan province  -  FAYYAZ AHMED/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
The bomb detonated in Quetta, the provincial capital of Pakistan's Balochistan province - FAYYAZ AHMED/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

A car bomb exploded late Wednesday in the car park of a luxury hotel in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least four and injuring a dozen more.

China’s ambassador to Pakistan, Nong Rong, and a Chinese delegation staying at the Serena Hotel in Quetta weren’t present at the time of the attack.

Mr Nong had earlier in the day met with Jam Kamal, chief minister of the province of Balochistan, according to a government spokesman’s social media post.

The resource-rich province is home to the newly expanded Gwadar seaport, part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a key part of Beijing’s global Belt and Road infrastructure investments.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed the attack - FAYYAZ AHMED/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
The Pakistani Taliban claimed the attack - FAYYAZ AHMED/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

But Chinese investment in the region has been controversial, and Chinese nationals and interests have been attacked by militants and insurgents before.

It’s unclear if the Chinese delegation in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, were the targets of Wednesday’s bombing.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, which appeared to be their largest attack in the country for some time.

Imran Khan, Pakistan's prime minister, said: "I am deeply saddened by the loss of innocent lives in the condemnable and cowardly terrorist attack in Quetta yesterday. Our nation has made great sacrifices in defeating terrorism and we will not to allow this scourge to rise again."

The Pakistani Taliban killed thousands during an insurgent campaign a decade ago, but were then weakened by internal rifts and offensives by Pakistan's army. Its remnants are believed to be largely across the border in Afghanistan.

Wednesday’s attack was a "big and troubling development,” said Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program at the Washington-based Wilson Centre.

"The group has been resurging in recent months and has carried out attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. A sophisticated, urban attack in Balochistan represents the latest phase of its comeback."