|A file photo of Pakistani soldiers driving in the restive South Waziristan region near the Afghan border|
At least 20 people including soldiers were killed in two separate attacks in Pakistan on Thursday, including an assault on a convoy of oil workers.
The first attack took place in Balochistan, where at least seven assailants armed with rocket launchers and other heavy weapons attacked a convoy of the state-owned Oil and Gas Development Corporation, the military said.
Seven soldiers of Frontier Corps and seven private security guards escorting the oil workers were killed in the encounter, which took place on the Coastal Highway near Ormara.
The staff of the company remained unharmed. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but it is believed that the attack may have been carried out by one of two major groups which are fighting for an independent Balochistan.
ISPR, the Pakistan Army’s public relations department, said that such cowardly acts by inimical elements to sabotage peace, stability and economic development in Balochistan shall never be allowed to succeed.
“Moreover, these acts cannot subdue the resolve of our forces which are determined to defend the motherland, even at the cost of their lives,” said the ISPR.
In another incident on the same day, six soldiers, including an officer, were killed by an improvised explosive device attack on a convoy near Razmak in North Waziristan.
The latest incidents come four days after two soldiers were killed and three injured in an attack on a security post in Shawal valley of North Waziristan.
In September, Pakistan security forces had killed four terrorists, including militant commander Ihsanullah alias Ihsan Sanray, in an intelligence-based operation. The ISPR had termed the killing as a “major breakthrough” in its fight against militants in North Waziristan. That operation had come days after wanted terrorist Waseem Zakeria was killed during an intelligence operation in North Waziristan along with four accomplices.