Baluch rebels attacked Pakistani security forces overnight, killing at least 11 soldiers and wounding another 12 in clashes that raged for five hours, officials said Wednesday.
Gunmen attacked two posts in the Margut area, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) east of Quetta, capital of the insurgency-torn southwestern province of Baluchistan. The soldiers were responsible for guarding coal mines, they said.
"About two dozen gunmen armed with light and heavy weapons attacked the Frontier Corps (paramilitary) posts and killed 11 soldiers," a senior military official said.
He said another 12 soldiers were wounded in the assault.
Other security officials confirmed the casualties.
The assailants belonged to a Baluch militant group led by Harbiar Marri who is living in self exile in London, the official said.
Baluch rebels have been fighting since 2004 for political autonomy and a greater share of profits from Baluchistan's wealth of natural oil, gas and mineral resources.