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Militant Raid Kills 10 Soldiers in Southwestern Pakistan

Baluchistan, Pakistan
Baluchistan, Pakistan

Pakistan’s military confirmed Thursday that a militant raid against a security base in southwestern Baluchistan province has killed at least 10 soldiers.

The deadly “terrorist” assault took place late Tuesday in Kech, a remote Pakistani district next to the border with Iran, according to the military’s media wing. It said that security forces in the ensuing intense shootout had killed at least one assailant and injured several others.

“While repulsing terrorists’ fire ... 10 soldiers embraced martyrdom,” the statement said, adding that security forces had captured three “terrorists” in “a follow-up clearance operation” underway in the area.

An outlawed militant group known as the Baluchistan Liberation Front (BLF) took credit for what is apparently one of the deadliest attacks against Pakistani security forces in the sparsely populated province in recent months.

Several ethnic Baluch armed separatist organizations, including BLF, are active in natural-resource-rich Baluchistan and routinely claim attacks against government forces.

The banned Pakistani Taliban, known as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, has a presence in the province, which also borders Afghanistan. In recent years, some of the attacks against security forces and civilians in Baluchistan have been claimed by Islamic State terrorists.

Pakistan has experienced an upsurge in militant attacks in its southwestern and northwestern districts, which used to host TTP strongholds until a few years ago, when a military-led offensive dismantled the militant infrastructure, killing thousands of militants and forcing others to flee across the Afghan border.