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Roadside Bomb Kills 5 Soldiers in Southwestern Pakistan

Baluchistan, Pakistan
Baluchistan, Pakistan

Authorities in Pakistan said Saturday that a roadside bomb exploded near a military convoy in southwestern Baluchistan province, killing at least five soldiers.

An army statement said the deadly bombing occurred during a counterterrorism operation in the remote Kech district, claiming security forces killed "three terrorists" in the ensuing fierce gunfight.

In a statement, an insurgent group known as the Baluchistan Liberation Front took responsibility for the attack. BLF is one of several ethnic Baluch insurgent groups plotting attacks against Pakistani security forces in the province, claiming they are fighting for the independence of Baluchistan.

The natural resources-rich, impoverished Pakistani province is where China has been or is in the process of developing major infrastructure projects as part of Beijing's global Belt and Road Initiative.

Earlier on Saturday, the military said its forces had killed four militants, including two key commanders, in separate counterterrorism raids in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Both Pakistani provinces border Afghanistan and recently have experienced almost daily insurgent attacks, primarily targeting security forces.

The violence is mainly claimed by the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and Baluch insurgents. A regional affiliate of the Islamic State, known as the Islamic State-Khorasan, is also active in Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Militant attacks killed about 500 security forces and nearly 500 civilians in Pakistan in 2023. Pakistani leaders say the bloodshed is being directed by fugitive TTP commanders and fighters from their sanctuaries in Afghanistan.

The conflict-torn neighboring country's de facto Taliban government rejects the charges, though, saying it is not allowing anyone to threaten Pakistan or other countries.