A powerful roadside bomb went off near a vehicle carrying Pakistani security forces in the country's volatile southwest on Friday, killing two soldiers and wounding three, authorities said.
Hours later, the separatist Baluchistan Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack in Kohlu, a district about 180 miles east of Quetta, the provincial capital in Baluchistan. The group was designated a terrorist organization by the United States in 2019.
Baluchistan province has seen increasing violence lately, with militant and separatist groups taking responsibility for attacks.
A local police official, Lal Khan, said the casualties were transported to a hospital in the area. A military statement identified the two killed as a major and a captain and said they sacrificed their lives "in defense of the motherland against an externally perpetrated threat." The military said the soldiers were carrying out an operation at the time of the attack, but did not provide further details.
Separatist groups have been behind a long-running insurgency and fight for Baluchistan's independence from the central government in Islamabad. Pakistan says it has quelled the insurgency, but violence has continued along the country’s borders with Iran and Afghanistan.