By Gul Yousafzai
QUETTA, Pakistan – Pakistan’s military said on Friday that suspected militants had ambushed and shot dead five soldiers in the province of Balochistan, where insurgent have stepped up attacks this year.
The military said the attackers opened fire on soldiers in the area of Sangan on Thursday evening and had yet to be identified.
Balochistan, the focal point of China’s $60 billion Belt and Road development programme, has for years struggled with insurgents including Baloch separatists, the Taliban and Islamic State, who have targeted the military as well as projects involving foreign investors.
In May, four Pakistani soldiers were killed along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in what the military said was an ambush by militants from Afghanistan.
In April a car bomb at a luxury hotel in the city of Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, killed four people, in an attack later claimed by the Pakistani Taliban. China’s ambassador to Pakistan was staying at the hotel, but was not present during the attack.