Militant attack kills seven troops in Pakistan's restive Balochistan - Balkan Times

Militant attack kills seven troops in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan

At least seven Pakistani paramilitary troops have been killed in a militant attack on a checkpost in the troubled restive southwest. 

The incident took place Saturday night in the town of Harnai, around 170 kilometers east of Quetta, capital of southwestern province of Balochistan.

The Pakistani military said in a statement on Sunday that the militants from nearby hilltops opened fire on a military checkpost using rockets and then automatic gunfire.

“During the intense exchange of fire, seven brave soldiers embraced shahadat (martyrdom) while repulsing raiding terrorists,” the statement read. “[The area] has been cordoned off; escape routes have been blocked,” it added

The Islamabad government has blamed arch-rival India for a surge in attacks in Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, saying New Delhi is irked by Pakistan’s massive economic partnership with China in the region.

In October, seven soldiers and seven security guards were killed by militants in the coastal Ormara district of Balochistan as they escorted a convoy of oil and gas workers.

Balochistan has long been plagued by militancy by nationalist and separatist groups who seek to secure bigger shares in regional resources. The resulted chaos, coupled by lack of security, has made room for the activities of criminal gangs, human smugglers and terror outfits linked to the Taliban and al-Qaeda militant groups.

Balochistan was rocked by a series of terrorist attacks in late 2016, raising fears about an increasing presence of armed militants in the area, including terrorists linked to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

Pakistan has been carrying out a major offensive against militant hideouts across the troubled northwestern tribal regions since June 2014.

Despite frequent offensives by the Pakistani army, acts of terror by militants continue to target security forces and civilians alike.

Thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives in bombings and other militant attacks since 2001, when Pakistan entered into an alliance with the United States in Washington’s so-called war on terror.

Thousands more have been displaced by the wave of violence sweeping the country.


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