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Is the twin assault by Baloch rebels and TTP wearing down Pak military?

The scene of a bomb attack in Balochistan (Photo: IANS/Xinhua)

Even as the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) keeps Pakistani security forces busy in the north-western parts of the country abutting the Afghan border, the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) has kept up its deadly war of attrition against the Pakistani military in the south-west of the country.

Pakistan is currently battling different shades of insurgency almost along the entire length of its western border that lies with Afghanistan and Iran. The Af-Pak border, approximately 2,640 km long, known as the Durand Line, has the Pakistan Taliban or the TTP raising a storm against the Pakistani security forces.

It is a similar situation on the approximately 900-km Iran-Pakistan border which is under a daily assault by Baloch fighters.

On Tuesday, Jeeyand Baloch, spokesman for the BLA said that two personnel of the Pakistani military were killed in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in Tagran, Balochistan. The Pakistani military personnel were patrolling the restive region on bikes when the explosives were detonated killing both the army personnel.

Even though Balochistan is under a media blackout enforced by the Pakistani army, Baloch individuals and organisations keep sharing the attacks by Baloch  rebels. Information reveals that the Pakistani military is under a siege in almost all of Balochistan – which comprises upto 44 per cent of Pakistan’s geography.

In a separate incident, the BLA claims to have carried out a series of three attacks in just one day.  The BLA launched an attack at military and government installations in Harnai, Panjgur and Bulaida. In the second attack, the BLA said it, “targeted the Gichen post of the Pakistani military with automatic weapons and grenade launchers. Two enemy personnel were eliminated and several more were injured in this attack”. In the third attack it blew up a communications tower as it was being used by the Pakistani army.

These are terrible times for the Pakistani army.

Two officers – a major and a captain – were killed in Balochsitan’s Kohlu late last week. Pakistan’s public relations agency for the armed forces, the ISPR issued a statement, saying: “…Major Jawad and Captain Sagheer — embraced martyrdom and laid their lives in defence of the motherland against an externally perpetrated threat”.

The ISPR did not specify which external threat led to the attacks.

The Dawn newspaper reports that January 2023 was the deadliest month since 2018 as violence by militants escalated in the Islamic republic. It says, 134 people lost their lives and 254 received injuries in at least 44 militant attacks across the country in just one month.

The Baloch rebels have been targeting Pakistani security forces at will. A Coast guard soldier was killed and seven others were injured in a landmine explosion in Jiwani, Gwadar.

Earlier on February 5, the BLA attacked a Pakistani military camp in Tagraan, Zamuran with heavy weapons. A statement by the BLA said that three soldiers were injured in the attack and the camp suffered heavy damages. The statement added that while the “Baloch freedom fighters” fled to safety, “the Pakistani forces harassed and brutalised the local population”.

With the Pakistani economy going downhill and its politicians bickering among themselves, militant groups across Pakistan and the nationalist Baloch are having a field day, literally.

Also read: Watch: Is Karima Baloch’s martyrdom spurring women protests against Pakistan?