QUETTA: Two security personnel were killed and one was injured during an exchange of fire with drug smugglers in Balochistan's Mashkel area on Monday, an official said. Both sides used heavy weapons against each other.

A security official, requesting anonymity, told Dawn that security forces tried to stop a convoy of drug smugglers in Mashkel, which is close to the Iranian border.

The official said that the smugglers who were well-armed retaliated, killing two security personnel and wounding another.

“The smugglers were trying to sneak into Iran, when the exchange of fire took place,” he said, without disclosing the number of smugglers.

He said the armed smugglers sped away in their vehicles after the incident. A search operation was launched by security forces to apprehend the men. A huge contingent of the Frontier Corps (FC) was deployed in the area to control the situation and arrest the smugglers.

Mashkel is situated in the Washuk district of Balochistan province. The region is considered to be one of the major routes for drug smugglers, who use unfrequented paths along the Pakistan-Iran border to enter the neighbouring country on their way to Europe to smuggle narcotics.

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