Gunmen have ambushed army and police patrols in two separate attacks across the troubled southwestern Pakistan, killing at least eight soldiers, officials say.
According to paramilitary spokesman, Khan Wasey, two gunmen on a motorcycle attacked Wednesday an army vehicle in a market in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, killing four soldiers and wounding a civilian.
Separately, police spokesman Shahzada Farhat said four police were also shot dead by militants late Tuesday in the volatile city.
No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the killings, but pro-Taliban or Baloch militant groups have been blamed for such attacks in the past.
Several top figures of the Afghan Taliban are believed to reside in Quetta.
Pakistan’s troubled Balochistan Province has been the scene of several bomb and gun attacks over the past years. Hundreds of Shia Muslims from the Hazara community have been killed in militant attacks there.
Pakistan’s mineral and gas-rich Balochistan province is rife with separatist, extremist and sectarian violence and has been the scene of numerous terrorist attacks over the past years.
In the country’s troubled northwestern tribal regions, Islamabad has been engaged in a major offensive against militant hideouts since June 2014, when a deadly raid on the Karachi International Airport ended the government’s faltering peace talks with the pro-Taliban militants.
Pakistan’s army has intensified military operations against the militants since pro-Taliban elements killed over 150 people, most of them children, in an armed assault on a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar in December 2014.
Thousands of people have been killed over the past decade as a result of a surge in violence in the country. Thousands more have been displaced by the wave of violence and militancy.