QUETTA- At least 30 Baluch militants were killed today, an official said, in a battle between Pakistani forces and insurgents fighting for the independence of Baluchistan, a huge resource-rich region bordering Iran.

The region's Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti told journalists that militants from the outlawed Baluch Republican Army had attacked and killed two soldiers during the battle.

A thinly populated land of deserts and mountains, Baluchistan borders Afghanistan and Iran and is virtually sealed off to foreigners.