A bus explosion that killed 13 people, including nine Chinese workers, while en route to Pakistan’s Dasu hydropower plant was a “suicide bombing”, the government has said while directing suspicion at India and Afghanistan.

Speaking at a press conference in the capital Islamabad on Thursday, Foreign Minister Shah Qureshi accused India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) of being involved in the attack, which they say was perpetrated by Pakistani Taliban militants.

“Afghanistan’s land was used in concocting the plan; the planning and execution link clearly to the RAW and NDS nexus,” the minister said. Outlining a potential motive behind the suicide bombing, Qureshi remarked that “the nexus cannot bear China and Pakistan’s growing cooperation and increasing Chinese investment in the country.”

Pakistani authorities investigating the blast have examined footage from 36 CCTV cameras along the 1,400- kilometre route the bus took before explosives were detonated, Qureshi said. The foreign minister revealed that body parts found at the scene believed to be the the suicide bomber’s remains were forensically analyzed.

Investigators on the case also found parts of a car smuggled in from Afghanistan that they believe was used in the incident.

The fatal blast occurred in the morning of July 14, killing at least 13 people, with nine Chinese engineers and two Pakistani soldiers among the dead. The explosion caused the bus to lose control and plummet into a ravine, injuring a further 30 passengers.

In the wake of the attack, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi implored Pakistan to investigate the origins of the assault, calling it the most brutal attack on Chinese citizens abroad. “If it is a terrorist attack, the perpetrators must be arrested immediately and severely punished”, Wang said.

The Dasu hydroelectric dam is a joint venture between China and Pakistan, and estimated to be worth billions of dollars.

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