Pakistani security forces Wednesday killed at least eight insurgents as they repulsed an attack by a separatist group on a sprawling government building outside the Chinese-funded Gwadar port in the volatile southwest, officials said.

Three security forces were also killed in the ensuing shootout. All the Chinese nationals working at the port in Baluchistan province were safe, the officials said.

PAKISTANI AIRSTRIKES TARGET TALIBAN IN AFGHANISTAN FOLLOWING SUICIDE BOMBING

Local police official Mohammad Mohsin said the attack began when a suicide bomber triggered his explosives-laden vehicle near a complex of the Gwadar Port Authority. That was followed by gunmen with hand grenades who attacked security forces.

Pakistani Flag

A large Pakistani flag is draped over the side of a building, Lahore, Pakistan, August 12, 2022. (ARIF ALI/AFP via Getty Images)

“Our security forces quickly and swiftly returned fire and killed all eight of the terrorists,” he said.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi in separate statements praised security forces for foiling the attack, which was claimed by the outlawed Baluchistan Liberation Army. The BLA wants independence from the central government in Islamabad.

Although the government says it has quelled the insurgency in the province, violence has persisted.

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Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan province, where Islamic militants also have a presence.

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