An improvised explosive device hit a Pakistani security forces vehicle in the restive southwestern province of Balochistan on Friday, killing six soldiers and wounding one other, the army said.
The incident took place in the treacherous highlands of Kech district, some 14 kilometres (eight miles) from the Pakistan-Iran border, where soldiers from the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) were on a routine patrol.
"FC South Balochistan troops were moving back to their base after assigned patrolling duty, reconnaissance vehicle of FC troops was targeted with remote controlled IED. Resultantly, 1 officer & 5 soldiers embraced Shahadat (martyrdom)," the military said in a statement.
A Baloch separatist group, the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), claimed responsibility for the attack in an email to AFP.
Baloch separatists demanding greater autonomy have for years been waging an insurgency in the province, which is also riven by sectarian and Islamist violence.
Mineral-rich Balochistan, bordering Afghanistan and Iran, is the largest of Pakistan's four provinces, but its roughly seven million inhabitants have long complained they do not receive a fair share of its gas and mineral wealth.
China is investing in the area under a $54-billion project known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), upgrading infrastructure, power and transport links between its far-western Xinjiang region and Pakistan's Gwadar port.
It has been targeted previously by the BLA. Thousands of paramilitary troops are deployed in troubled areas of the country to carry out security checks and to help police in maintaining law and order.