Pakistan's military says the army men, including a captain, were killed in attacks near the north-western border with Afghanistan and south-western Balochistan province.

A Pakistani soldier stands guard along the border fence outside the Kitton outpost on the border with Afghanistan in North Waziristan.
A Pakistani soldier stands guard along the border fence outside the Kitton outpost on the border with Afghanistan in North Waziristan. (Reuters Archive)

Ten Pakistani soldiers were killed by militants on Saturday in two separate incidents in the country's northwestern and southwestern provinces, the military said.

Six soldiers patrolling near the Afghan border were killed in North Waziristan district when militants opened fire from the Afghan side, according to the military.

Separately, the army said four paramilitary troops were killed in the southwestern province of Balochistan during an operation against militants.

Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his condolences to the families of those killed, and tweeted: "I salute our armed forces personnel who continue to lay down their lives fighting terrorists to keep the nation safe."

"These are dying efforts of inimical forces while Pakistan moves from stability to enduring peace. It's time for the world to facilitate regional peace," the Pakistan military's spokesman Maj. General Asif Ghafoor said on Twitter.

Lower-level attacks 

North Waziristan ––  once a focal point in the global war on terror –– held provincial elections for the first time earlier this month, a key step in bringing the northwestern region into the political mainstream after years of turmoil fuelled by militancy.

Security has improved in recent years, but lower-level attacks still occur and the area remains notorious for the availability of cheap guns, drugs, and smuggled goods.

Settlement of Afghanistan conflict 

The two attacks come days after a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Pakistani PM Khan which focused on Pakistan's role in helping to broker a political settlement to end the nearly 18-year-old US war in Afghanistan.

Pakistani forces have conducted a series of operations against militant groups including the Pakistani Taliban in the region North Waziristan over recent years.
While officials say the area has largely been pacified, small scale attacks continue to take place.

Baluchistan is an important part of transport and energy projects that form part of China's Belt and Road initiative, which has brought $57 billion of investment to Pakistan.

Balochistan is rife with ethnic, sectarian and separatist insurgencies, and a number of terror groups, including the TTP and the Balochistan Liberation Army, operate in the province.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies