4 militants, 2 troops killed in southwest Pakistan

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Four suspected militants and two army troops were killed in a security operation in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, the country’s army said.

In a late night statement on Wednesday, the army said security forces raided a compound in remote district Kalat located some 137 kilometers (85 miles) from provincial capital Quetta.

Two troops were also injured in the clash whereas two explosive-laden jackets, and a large number of weapons and explosives were also recovered, it added.

Though the statement did not specify any group the militants belonged to, but a security official, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media, told Anadolu Agency the slain suspects were loyal to Daesh and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

The latter is a hardline Sunni militant group involved in numerous terrorist activities in the mineral-rich province in recent years.

Four women and five children — presumably relatives of the slain suspects — were also recovered from the compound, the official said.

The large Balochistan province, which is also considered to cover parts of neighboring Iran and Afghanistan, is strategically important because of the rich presence of copper, zinc and natural gas but has beset by violence for over six decades.

The province is also a key route of multi-billion dollars China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a part of Beijing's ambitious One Belt-One Road project.

Various sectarian outfits, including Taliban, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, have also been active in the region, especially in Quetta for the last decade.