A suicide bomber on Saturday blew himself up in the city of Quetta, killing at least eight people and injuring 40, local officials have said.
According to an initial police investigation, the bomber rammed an explosive-laden bicycle into a security vehicle on a busy street in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province, which shares borders with both Iran and Afghanistan.
Provincial Police Chief Ahsan Mahboob told reporters that between eight and 10 kilograms of explosive material had been used in the blast -- the latest in a series of attacks on security forces in the province.
The victims included at least two security personnel and a woman, Mahboob said.
According to paramedics, the death toll is expected to rise further, as several of those injured -- including women and children -- are in critical condition.
Footage broadcast on various local television channels showed ambulances taking the bodies of the injured to hospitals. Human body parts and blood-soaked clothing could be seen scattered around the blast site.
The explosion also damaged several vehicles parked in the vicinity and shattered the windows of nearby buildings.
While there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, suicide bombings have been a key tactic in the Taliban’s ongoing insurgency against Pakistani security forces -- although such attacks often claim civilian lives as well.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, for his part, condemned Saturday’s attack, stating that ongoing security operations would continue countrywide "until the last terrorist is eliminated".
Pakistan’s Baluchistan province is strategically important due to its rich copper, zinc and natural gas reserves.
The region has been plagued by violence for over six decades, however, with separatists claiming it was forcibly incorporated into Pakistan -- against the will of its inhabitants -- at the end of British rule in 1947.
Over the course of the last decade, the province -- especially capital Quetta -- has also faced a deadly wave of sectarian violence in which over 2,200 people have been killed.