The Baloch Raaji Aajoi Sangar (BRAS), an umbrella organisation of Baloch rebel groups seeking independence from Pakistan, has claimed that the top Pakistani general killed in the downed military helicopter headed the enforced disappearances campaign in conflict-torn Balochistan.
In a media statement, the rebel organisation said that Lieutenant General Sarfaraz Ali, who commanded the Quetta based XII corps was directly involved in enforced disappearances and the genocide of the Baloch community. The statement added that accepting "responsibility for the attack was delayed to ensure protection of the Baloch freedom fighters".
Baloch Raaji Aajoi Sangar (BRAS) accepts responsibility for targeting Pakistani helicopter and killing six senior military officials of the enemy forces
– Spokesperson, Baloch Khanhttps://t.co/QjCxfQEpKR pic.twitter.com/mZzbyh7ep4
— Baloch Raaji Aajoi Sangar | BRAS (@Bras_Media03) August 2, 2022
In an email statement, Baloch Khan, spokesperson of BRAS claimed that the organisation "targeted a Pakistani military helicopter in a mountainous range between Windar and Noorani in Balochistan yesterday".
The press statement said: "The freedom fighters of BRAS targeted a low flying helicopter of the Pakistani military in a mountainous area between Windar and Noorani in Balochistan. The targeted helicopter crashed near Moosa Goth in Dareji".
It pointed out that on August 1, a team of BRAS fighters spotted a low flying helicopter of the "enemy forces". In the attack, carried out with antiaircraft guns, the helicopter was badly damaged and later completely destroyed after it crashed near Moosa Goth. All six enemy personnel onboard the flight were killed in the attack. They included Corps Commander 12 Corps Lieutenant General Sarfaraz Ali, Director General Coast Guard Major General Amjad, Brigadier Khalid, pilot Major Saeed, co-pilot Talha and crew chief Naik Muddasir".
Europe-based Baloch journalist Kiyya Baloch said that he had "multiple pictures" which show "a man holding missiles & rocket launchers ", which the group claims to be used for shooting down the #helicopter carrying high-ranked officers.
9- BRAS claims couldn’t independently be verified. However, the Pakistan army said the helicopter crashed due to bad weather.
BRAS is one of the most lethal groups in #Balochistan after the Majeed Brigade, with a strength believed to be more than 1000. #HelicopterCrash
— Kiyya Baloch (@KiyyaBaloch) August 2, 2022
He had initially signalled on Twitter that the helicopter crash seems to be the handiwork of Baloch insurgents. Later he added that the claims by BRAS could not be "independently verified”. Baloch, however, alluding to their fire power said: “After the sudden US withdrawal in Afg, the Baloch militants have accessed arms abandoned by the USA".
Geopolitical analyst Mark Kinra told India Narrative: "BRAS is an umbrella organization created in 2018 comprising Balochistan Liberation Front, Baloch Liberation Army (Bashir Zeb) and Balochistan Republican Guards. Later on, Baloch Republican Army (Gulzar Imam group) and United Baloch Army (Sarfaraz Bangulzai group) also joined it. Dr Allah Nazar Baloch heads the group as it is under his supervision that the umbrella organization was created".
Kinra says that Baloch groups have become sophisticated in their attacks on the Pakistani army. "The credit can be given to the upgradation of technique, weaponry from Afghanistan-especially after the Taliban takeover and under the guidance of the Pakistan Taliban".
With the Majeed Brigade, BRAS has been involved in unprecedented attacks on the Pakistani military camps at Panjgur and Nushki in February 2022 which shook the Pakistani army to the core.
Baloch insurgents claim responsibility for downing helicopter that killed a top Pakistani military commander
Baloch fighters embarrass Pakistan military—continue to engage troops in Panjgur camp after 36 hours