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Soldiers killed, civilians wounded as violence flares



4 killed, 2 abducted as gunmen attack U.S. embassy officials
Soldiers killed, civilians wounded as violence flares
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At least six Pakistani soldiers were killed in the south-west of the country on Sunday as the threat of terrorism grows.

Soldiers were killed and civilians were wounded in three separate incidents involving militant groups operating in Balochistan.

The military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said that five soldiers including an officer were killed during a clearance operation in Kohlu district.

Earlier in the day, a soldier was killed in an exchange of fire with militants in Zhob district, whereas four people were wounded in a grenade blast in the provincial capital Quetta.

Violence has surged in Pakistan after months of peace talks between Islamabad and the Taliban militants hiding in Afghanistan collapsed last month.

Negotiations were being brokered by the Haqqani network of the Afghan Taliban.

The Pakistani Taliban, who follow the same hardline interpretation of Sunni Islam as their Afghan counterparts but have a different organisation, have killed around 80,000 people in decades of violence.

Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest province that borders both Afghanistan and Iran, and is regularly targeted by Islamist militants, sectarian groups and nationalist separatists.

Much of the violence is seen as a reaction by rebels to Beijing’s investment plans in the region to link China’s Xinjiang province with the Arabian Sea in Balochistan through a network of roads and rail.

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