Authorities in Pakistan said Wednesday that an insurgent assault on a military base and clashes elsewhere in the turbulent southwestern Baluchistan province killed 12 soldiers and a civilian.
The army's media wing said that five "terrorists" had attempted "to sneak into the facility" in the province's northern Zhob district early in the morning, but troops intercepted them.
The ensuing hourslong clashes killed nine soldiers and all the assailants, a military statement said. It did not share further details, but reliable security sources in Zhob reported that at least a dozen soldiers were injured, and the death toll was expected to increase.
"Security forces and the nation remain resilient and determined to thwart all such dastardly attempts of the enemy aimed at destroying the peace of Baluchistan and Pakistan," the military said in its statement.
A top district administration official earlier confirmed that militants had stormed the Zhob cantonment area. Azeem Kakar told reporters that civilians were caught in the crossfire, leaving a woman dead and five people injured.
A relatively new militant outfit, Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan, reportedly claimed credit for the attack on the army base, but its authenticity could not be ascertained immediately. The group is believed to be tied to the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, an alliance of banned extremist organizations conducting attacks against the Pakistani state.
Separately on Wednesday, the military said a gunfight with "heavily armed terrorists" in the Sui district of the province left three soldiers dead. It added that two militants also were killed, saying a "clearance operation is underway to apprehend remaining terrorists as well."
Baluchistan and northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, bordering Afghanistan, have recently suffered a dramatic upsurge in militant attacks. The violence has killed more than 400 people, mostly security forces, in suicide bombings and other attacks since the beginning of 2023.
The TTP and the so-called Baluch Liberation Army, both designated as global terrorist organizations by the United States, have taken responsibility for most of the bloodshed in the two provinces and elsewhere in Pakistan.
The Pakistani military has confirmed the death of more than 100 officers and soldiers in insurgent raids and clashes in the first six months of the year.