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Brother Of Afghan Taliban Leader Reportedly Killed In Pakistani Mosque Blast

Members of a bomb-disposal unit survey the site after a blast at a mosque in Kuchlak, on the outskirts of Quetta, on August 16.

The brother of the leader of the Afghan Taliban is reported to have been among those killed in a bomb blast at a mosque in southwest Pakistan.

Police said four people were killed and more than 20 injured on August 16 in the explosion at the mosque some 25 kilometers from the city of Quetta, the capital of restive Balochistan Province.

Taliban leader Haibatullah was not in the mosque when the bomb went off but his younger brother, Hafiz Ahmadullah, was among those killed, according to Afghan Islamic Press and Reuters, which cited two Taliban sources.

Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada (undated)
Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada (undated)

Pakistani police have not confirmed the identity of any of the victims.

The targeted mosque is located 3 kilometers away from Kuchlak, a stronghold of Taliban insurgents where Akhunzada once lived before becoming the Taliban chief and moving to an undisclosed location in Afghanistan.

The Kuchlak area is a major crossing point for Afghan Taliban members to move between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is also the same area where Akhunzada operated several religious schools before becoming the Taliban chief.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast outside Quetta, the capital of Balochistan Province, which has been plagued by a series of attacks recently.

Five people, including two policemen, were killed and 27 injured in a blast near a police station in Quetta in July, a week after a similar explosion killed two people.

Balochistan has been the scene of a low-level insurgency by separatists demanding more autonomy and a greater share in the region's natural resources.

Balochistan is also key to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), part of Beijing's Belt and Road initiative.

CPEC seeks to connect China's western province of Xinjiang with the Pakistani port of Gwadar, giving Beijing access to the Arabian Sea.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP
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