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Taliban claim bomb in southwest Pakistan that kills 13

A security official searches for evidence near the remains of a damaged vehicle at the site of a bomb blast in Quetta May 23, 2013. REUTERS/
A security official searches for evidence near the remains of a damaged vehicle at the site of a bomb blast in Quetta May 23, 2013. REUTERS/

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility on Thursday for a bomb that killed 11 security personnel and two civilians in the southwestern city of Quetta.

Sixteen people were wounded in the attack in the capital of Baluchistan province, and the death toll could rise, police said. The bomb was planted in a three-wheeled auto-rickshaw and blew up as a truck carrying the security men passed by.

"We proudly claim responsibility for Thursday's blast in Quetta and the target was local police. The Baluchistan police recently arrested and killed some of our colleagues belonging to the Swat Taliban," said Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan.

Swat is a region in northwest Pakistan that the militants have tried to control for years.

It was the second major attack since the May 11 general election which marked the first transition between civilian governments in Pakistan's turbulent history after a campaign marred by violence.

Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif has called for talks with the Pakistani Taliban in a bid to end rising militancy, but the spokesman said it was too early to react.

"We are waiting for him to form his government and see what type of policies he formulates towards us," the spokesman said.

Separatist rebels battling to control Baluchistan's natural gas and other resources also operate in the province.

The ethnic Baluch separatists have fought a low-key insurgency for decades, attacking gas pipelines, infrastructure and the security forces. They have no connection with the Pakistani Taliban.

(Reporting by Jibran Ahmad; Additional reporting by Syed Raza Hassan; in Islamabad; Writing by Nick Macfie)

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