Pakistani forces thwarted 3 terrorist attacks in Balochistan’s Mach, says minister

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Provincial interim information minister Jan Achakzai announced that security forces successfully foiled three coordinated attacks by terrorists in Balochistan’s Mach area on Monday night, Dawn reported.

In a social media post on X, Achakzai revealed that the militants belonged to the Aslam Acho group. Fortunately, no damage occurred to installations, and there were no casualties among security forces.

Achakzai expressed that the terrorists retreated, and security forces are actively pursuing them. “We remain hopeful that all threats will be eliminated before dawn,” Achakzai added, as reported by Dawn.

Earlier reports mentioned a few rockets fired from the hilly areas of Mach. However, Achakzai clarified on X that there were no reported losses, and law enforcement agencies were on high alert.

Mach Central Jail Superintendent Saleem Tareen confirmed that the jail facility was not damaged, ensuring the safety of the building, staff, and prisoners. “The forces around the jail are fully alert,” he added.

Two injured individuals from Mach were transferred to a trauma centre in Quetta, as reported by the provincial health department. In response to the reported attacks, an emergency was declared in hospitals in Quetta and Mach. The statement on Facebook outlined instructions to ensure medical staff readiness, strengthen hospital security, and gather necessary medical supplies.

“Instructions have been issued for all doctors and staff to be present on duty immediately. Instructions have been issued to strengthen the security of hospitals to deal with any unpleasant situation. Instructions have been issued to gather medicines, medical equipment, lab supplies, and abundant stock of blood,” the statement said.

The responsibility for the attack was claimed by the banned militant group Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), which seeks complete independence for Balochistan. The incident raises concerns as the February 8 general elections in Pakistan are just 10 days away.

Pakistan has witnessed increased terrorist activities, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan, following the end of the ceasefire between the government and the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan in November 2022.

A recent annual security report from the Centre for Research and Security Studies highlighted 1,524 violence-related fatalities and 1,463 injuries from 789 terror attacks and counter-terror operations in 2023. KP and Balochistan were identified as primary centers of violence, with over 90% of fatalities and 84 per cent of attacks occurring in these regions.

On January 18, Pakistan launched retaliatory strikes against targets within Iranian territory, targeting facilities linked to alleged Pakistani Baloch separatist groups, including the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Balochistan Liberation Front, Dawn reported.