Pakistan: Search for those responsible for the death of 6 soldiers

QUETTA, Pakistan (HPD) — Pakistani forces expanded their search Monday for the perpetrators of multiple attacks that killed six soldiers and wounded 17 civilians in a troubled southwestern province a day earlier.

The top government official in the southwestern province of Balochistan, Abdul Aziz Uqaili, said a total of nine attacks were reported in the province on Sunday. No civilians were killed in the attacks, he tweeted. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif condemned the acts of violence in Balochistan.

Earlier, the army said in a statement that five soldiers, including an army captain, were killed when a roadside bomb exploded near a security forces vehicle during a cleanup operation in Kahan, a remote area. in Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan. No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The sixth soldier was killed in a firefight with the Pakistani Taliban in the Sambaza area of ​​Zhob district, according to Azfar Mohesar, a senior police official. A militant was also killed in the clash, he said.

In the provincial capital of Quetta, 12 people were injured when assailants threw a hand grenade at a bazaar near a residential area, Mohesar added. Elsewhere in Balochistan, five people were injured in attacks in the towns of Kalat, Khuzdar and Hub.

The Pakistani Taliban Movement, a paramilitary organization associated with the Afghan Taliban, has intensified its attacks across Pakistan since November, when it unilaterally ended a ceasefire after accusing the military of violating the truce.

The militant group is an ally of the Afghan Taliban, which seized power in neighboring Afghanistan last year as US and NATO troops were in the final stages of their withdrawal. The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has emboldened the Pakistani Taliban.

Unrelated to the Pakistani Taliban Movement, Baluchistan separatists have long waged a low-level insurgency seeking independence from the central government in Islamabad.

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