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Pakistan finally admits that Baloch fighters killed 10 soldiers in deadly Kech attack

File photo of Baloch attack on Pakistan policemen (Photo: Xinhua/IANS)

In a belated admission, the Pakistani army has admitted to an attack by Baloch fighters on its check post close to the Iran border which claimed the lives of at least ten soldiers. 

Days after the terror attack, Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted: “I salute the 10 martyred soldiers who repulsed a terrorist fire raid on checkpost in Kech Balochistan. We are resolute in our commitment to rid Pakistan of all forms of terrorism”. 

A statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR)–the media and public relations wing of the Pakistani armed forces said: "During intense exchange of fire, one terrorist was killed and several injured. While repulsing terrorists' fire raid, 10 soldiers embraced martyrdom".

Pakistan had reportedly withheld the information about the attack fearing disruption of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches with participation by foreign players.

The Balochistan Times had reported yesterday that the daring attack by the Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) lasted over three hours in which 17 soldiers of the Pakistani army were killed.

The newspaper added that the Baloch fighters set fire to the check post and took away the weapons from the soldiers. They also ambushed reinforcements that were coming to help the soldiers at the check post.

The ISPR statement added that three terrorists had been apprehended in a follow-up operation, which is still in progress. "The armed forces are determined to eliminate terrorists from our soil no matter what the cost," the ISPR statement said.

There has been a rising trend in attacks on soldiers in Pakistan in the past few months. This is also true of Baloch nationalists who want an independent Balochistan as they feel exploited by Islamabad's policies of neglect.

Only last week, one of the Baloch nationalist groups had conducted a bomb blast in the Anarkali market in Lahore, Punjab, killing three people. This was one of the few occasions when the Baloch groups attacked outside their region.

Pakistan watcher and geopolitical analyst Mark Kinra told India Narrative that with some of the Baloch groups splintering into factions headed by different commanders, there has been a rise in attacks against the Pakistani army.

Earlier this month, a Pakistan Army soldier was killed after terrorists attacked a military post in Bannu's Janikhel. On January 5, two soldiers and two attackers were killed in two separate intelligence-based operations by Pakistani forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In December, four soldiers were killed in an exchange of fire in the North Waziristan tribal district.

Besides the Baloch nationalists, the Pakistani army has been under attack by the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), various Pashtun groups and other terror outfits along the Afghan-Pakistan border as well. 

The rise in attacks on Pakistani forces is directly related to the victory gained by the Taliban militants in neighbouring Afghanistan, many of who now see Pakistan as the next target for foisting their kind of Islamic rule.