Security Forces Thwart BLA Attack in Balochistan’s Mach Area

News Desk5 months ago

Security forces in Balochistan successfully repulsed a coordinated “fire raid” attempt by militants belonging to the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) in the Mach area. The incident, which unfolded late Monday, saw Mach city rattled by explosions and gunfire as terrorists launched a barrage of rockets from nearby mountains.

According to reports, the attack commenced at 9:30 pm local time when unidentified assailants fired 15 rockets from the mountains towards various targets in the Mach area, including Mach Jail Colony, Levies police station, and the FC headquarters. The intensity of the assault plunged the city into darkness and prompted the closure of local markets.

Residents found themselves trapped in their homes amid the chaos, with the sound of explosions shattering windowpanes across the area. Security sources revealed that the timely intervention of the security forces, who had received prior intelligence about the impending attack, thwarted the terrorists’ plans. An ambush was laid, leading to the retreat of the militants in the face of the effective response by security personnel.

Also Read: Pakistan Launches Strong Retaliation Strikes Targeting Terrorist Camps in Iran

Balochistan’s interim information minister, Jan Achakzai, hailed the security forces for successfully foiling three coordinated attacks orchestrated by the terrorists. In a social media post, Achakzai identified the perpetrators as members of the Aslam Acho group and assured the public that no damage was inflicted on vital installations, and no casualties were reported among security forces.

Achakzai emphasized that the pursuit of the fleeing terrorists was ongoing, expressing optimism that all threats would be neutralized before dawn. Security forces have launched a search operation to apprehend the militants responsible for the attack, underscoring the government’s commitment to ensuring the safety and security of the region.

The incident serves as a stark reminder of the persistent security challenges faced by Balochistan, highlighting the ongoing efforts of security forces to combat terrorism and maintain peace in the restive province.

What is BLA? The History

Formation and Alleged Soviet Involvement

The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) is an ethnonationalist militant organization based in Afghanistan, emerged on the scene in 2000. Some analysts speculate its roots trace back to prior Baloch insurgencies, notably the Independent Balochistan Movement of 1973 to 1977. Reports suggest that former KGB agents, code-named ‘Misha’ and ‘Sasha,’ played a role in its formation, around the Baloch Student Organization (BSO). BLA’s activities waned following the Soviet Union’s withdrawal from Afghanistan as funding dwindled.

Iraqi Embassy Raid and Allegations

On February 10, 1973, Pakistani forces raided the Iraqi embassy in Islamabad, uncovering a cache of arms believed destined for Baloch rebels. This incident led to diplomatic fallout, with Pakistan accusing India, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Soviet Union of involvement in a conspiracy against its integrity.

Escalation and Terrorist Designation

BLA escalated its activities in 2004, advocating for Baloch self-determination and separation from Pakistan. This led to violent clashes and terror attacks targeting non-Baloch minorities in Balochistan. Subsequently, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and the United States designated BLA as a terrorist organization in 2006 due to repeated attacks on security personnel.

Ethnic Targeting and Insurgent Tactics

In April 2009, BLA leader Brahamdagh Khan Bugti incited targeted attacks against non-Baloch residents in Balochistan, resulting in numerous casualties. BLA’s violent tactics extended to targeting schools and students in 2010, exacerbating tensions in the region.

International Terrorist Designations

The United States and the European Union reinforced BLA’s terrorist designation in 2019, freezing its assets and recognizing its global threat.

Incident at University of Karachi

On April 26, 2022, Shari Baloch, purportedly affiliated with BLA, carried out a suicide bombing at the University of Karachi, claiming the lives of three Chinese teachers. BLA claimed responsibility for this attack, marking it as the organization’s first female suicide bomber.

Pakistan’s Counterinsurgency Measures:

On January 18, 2024, Pakistan conducted strikes on separatist targets in Iran, targeting hideouts utilized by BLA and other groups like BLF (Baloch Liberation Front).

The history of the Balochistan Liberation Army underscores a complex web of regional geopolitics, ethnic tensions, and insurgency dynamics. While Pakistan continues its efforts to counter the group’s activities, the BLA remains a potent force, challenging stability in Balochistan and posing a threat to regional security.

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