Overnight assault by Baloch insurgents in Pakistan claims lives of more than 10 people

Overnight assault by Baloch insurgents in Pakistan claims lives of more than 10 people

Islamabad, Pakistan – A nighttime assault in Pakistan’s Balochistan province has resulted in the deaths of at least six insurgents and four security officials. The attack, carried out by the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), targeted military and security installations in the city of Mach, located 65km south of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan. The BLA claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that its “freedom fighters” conducted the operation.

Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, is the country’s largest and least populated province. Despite its rich mineral resources and vast natural gas reserves, it remains the poorest region in Pakistan. The BLA is part of a broader rebellion in Balochistan that accuses the government of neglecting its residents and unfair distribution of resources.

The attack caused only minor damage to the Mach police station and the nearby prison, where approximately 800 inmates, including 90 on death row, were unharmed. The assault involved an explosion followed by gunfire that lasted for nearly 12 hours.

Balochistan has seen numerous attacks on Pakistani security forces and Chinese individuals working on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $60 billion project. The Pakistani state has responded forcefully to these attacks, leading to allegations of human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings and disappearances of ethnic Baloch individuals suspected of supporting the rebellion.

The timing of this attack is noteworthy, as it comes amid increased global attention on Balochistan following an Iranian airstrike and a month-long sit-in held by Baloch people in Islamabad. Last month, Iranian forces struck inside Pakistani territory, killing two children near Panjgur city. Pakistan responded two days later, targeting what it claimed were armed groups given sanctuary in Iran. The Baloch protest in Islamabad was triggered by the alleged killing of a young man by state officials, who claimed he was a rebel. Baloch separatists have already denounced the upcoming general election in Pakistan, scheduled for February 8.

As the conflict in Balochistan continues to escalate, it is becoming increasingly clear that actions at the borders will play a significant role in shaping the future course of the conflict.


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