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Rebels attack mineral trucks in Balochistan as violence spreads to Goldsmith Line

Destroyed mineral trucks by Baloch rebels (Photo: Hakkal media)

The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) fighting for an independent Balochistan attacked Pakistani soldiers as well as damaged trucks carrying minerals in the Zamuran and Harnai regions of the province.

The BLA also claims to have killed three Pakistani military personnel in the attacks. In a press statement, it claimed to have “damaged 41 vehicles in three attacks in Zamuran and Harnai areas of Balochistan”. The BLA added that it also attacked a vehicle of paramilitary force, the Levies, with an IED after it tried to approach the damaged trawlers. The BLA press release said: “Four Levies personnel were injured and their vehicle was destroyed in the attack”.

The Baloch community has been opposing vociferously the extraction of minerals from their province by Pakistan and China.

The rebel outfit claimed that Pakistani military vehicles also move under the cover of trawlers transporting coal at night. It said that the trucks ferreting Baloch minerals also deliver supplies to Pakistani military bases and outposts.

The Balochistan Post reported that the BLA had issued a warning on 20 May 2023 that miners and coal contractors should immediately stop running supplies for the Pakistani military.

With Pakistani forces facing large-scale daily attacks by Baloch fighters, many on the border with Iran, Pakistan appealed to Iran to “thwart any attempt by militants to escape into the neighbouring country”. The appeal by Pakistan to its south-western neighbour follows the death of at least two soldiers in Kech district of Balochistan that borders Iran.

The Pakistani military’s PR agency, ISPR said that two soldiers were killed in an attack on a security checkpoint close to the border with Iran on Thursday. Pakistani troops on the Iranian border have faced numerous deadly attacks on their patrols as well as security check-points.

The Goldsmith Line – the de facto border between Pakistan and Iran has witnessed multiple attacks on the border forces of both countries. As recently as April this year, Pakistan’s Interior Ministry told its parliament that anti-Pakistan outfits are regrouping in Balochistan through the Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan.

In January 2023, the ISPR had said that four Pakistani security personnel were killed in firing across the Pakistan-Iran border in Balochistan’s Panjgur district at the beginning of 2023 – a year that has seen mounting violence across Pakistan.

The Pakistani army said that Baloch militants used Iranian territory to “target a convoy of security forces patrolling along the border” and asked Iran to ‘hunt down’ the terrorists on its side of the border.

Also read: Iran-Pakistan rift widens after killings of 5 border guards