Five Pakistani Soldiers Killed By Militant Attack Near Iranian Border

Five soldiers from Pakistan’s Frontier Corps (FC) have been killed in an overnight attack by militants near the Iran-Pakistan border, Pakistani officials told RFE/RL on February 19.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, officials told RFE/RL that the attackers used “heavy weapons” late on February 18 to target a security post in the Balangor area west of the city of Turbat in Balochistan Province’s Kech district.

The checkpoint was located about 30 kilometers from the Iranian border on a key highway that links southeastern Iran with Balochistan’s provincial capital of Quetta.

Three Pakistani soldiers wounded in the attack have been rushed to a nearby hospital, the officials said.

Pakistani security forces launched a counteroperation early on February 19 in an attempt to locate the assailants.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which took place in an area where Baluch separatists frequently target Pakistani security convoys and checkpoints.

The attack follows a suicide bombing on February 17 that killed eight radical Sunni Muslims and injured 16 others at a Islamist rally in Quetta.

There also was no claim responsibility the Quetta attack.

It targeted a rally by followers of the radical Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ) party — the political branch of the banned Lashkar-e Jhangvi extremist group that has claimed responsibility for numerous deadly attacks on Pakistan’s Shi’a minority.