Several soldiers killed by gunmen in southwestern Pakistan

The attack targeted the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC), the military said, adding a search operation was under way.

Balochistan, which shares borders with Afghanistan and Iran, is Pakistan's largest and most volatile province [File: Naseer Ahmed/Reuters]

At least seven soldiers were killed in an attack by unidentified gunmen in southwestern Pakistan, the military said.

The assailants attacked a security post in Balochistan province’s Harnai district early on Sunday, the military’s media wing, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), said in a statement.

Senior police officer Shawli Tareen gave a slightly higher death toll than the army, saying that during the exchange of fire, six paramilitary personnel and two private guards were killed.

He said six other soldiers were critically wounded in the attack.

The attackers fled the scene and made their way into the mountainous terrain before other security teams could arrive to assist, Tareen said.

The attack on the Frontier Corps comes a day after a bomb exploded near a football field, killing two spectators and wounding another six in Panjgur district in southwestern Balochistan.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for either attack.

Similar attacks in the past have been claimed by separatist groups in the area. Other armed groups also operate in the region.

Balochistan, which shares borders with both Afghanistan and Iran, is Pakistan’s largest and most volatile province.

It faces a multifaceted threat from several armed groups, including the Taliban and other movements seeking the province’s secession from Pakistan.

Other targets of the groups include projects initiated by China under a $62bn investment plan are common.

Violence, however, has declined significantly in Pakistan in recent years, after the country’s army pushed back armed groups in a series of offensives near the border.

Source: News Agencies