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Explosion that killed Chinese workers in Pakistan was terrorist attack, officials say

China has expressed growing concern over regional stability following the end of the US military mission in neighboring Afghanistan.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping also held talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday and urged his government to find a political solution to the country’s long-standing conflict and to “strengthen the security protection of citizens and institutions. Chinese in Afghanistan “. Xi did not mention the Taliban, which has gradually expanded the areas it controls, according to a statement describing the call.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry on Wednesday suggested that the explosion that hit the convoy was an accident caused by the ignition of gas canisters in one of the vehicles. Other officials were quick to suggest there was evidence of a deliberate attack. The initial reluctance seemed to reflect Pakistan’s sensitivity to terrorist attacks on its soil, especially those targeting a powerful ally.

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong, who narrowly missed a terrorist attack in April at a hotel in Quetta where his delegation was staying, visited the scene of the convoy attack on Thursday.

State media in China showed video of the bus wreck in the river ravine and debris strewn on a narrow unpaved road, including a thrown helmet from the contractor, China Gezhouba Group. The force of the explosion burned trees on the steep slope above the road, a CCTV reporter said at the scene.

The attack on the hotel in April was claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, or Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, who said their targets were “locals and foreigners” staying at the hotel. Another group called the Balochistan Liberation Army, named after the country’s southern province, also claimed responsibility for attacks targeting the Chinese.

Cui Jian, deputy project manager with China Gezhouba Group, praised Pakistani workers and security personnel for their emergency response after the bombing. “Pakistani staff are always very united and have helped us a lot,” he said in remarks broadcast on CCTV.

Salman Masood reported from Islamabad; Steven Lee Myers from Seoul. Claire Fu contributed to the research.

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