Militants carried out a pre-dawn assault Wednesday on a security outpost in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least six paramilitary forces.
The attack occurred in Ziarat, a remote district in the country’s largest and natural resource-rich Baluchistan province.
Qadir Bakhsh Pirkani, the deputy commissioner of Ziarat, told VOA security forces have launched a search operation in the area to try to capture the “terrorists” who carried out the attack, about 50 kilometers from the provincial capital, Quetta.
The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), commonly referred to as the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for plotting the raid.
A purported TTP spokesman alleged in a statement the raid was carried out to avenge killings of some of its members by security personnel deployed at the outpost.
Sparsely populated Baluchistan, which shares a border with Afghanistan and Iran, routinely experiences militant attacks.
In addition to TTP,several secessionist groups are active in the province along with a regional affiliate of Islamic State, known as Khorasan Province (ISKP), which Pakistani officials say operates out of volatile border areas of Afghanistan.
On Sunday, a bomb detonated in one of the cars of a Quetta-bound train, killing four passengers and wounding at least eight others. Baluch separatists claimed responsibility for the bombing.
The ethnic-based low-level insurgency has long defended its violent campaign, accusing the central government of unfairly exploiting the region’s gas and mineral wealth.
Pakistani officials reject the charges and insist economic uplift in the relatively underdeveloped province has lately been the priority for local and federal government.
Baluchistan is home to several major Chinese-funded infrastructure projects being built under the multi-billion dollar bilateral China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).