South Asia and Beyond

Pakistan Second-Largest Naval Air Base Attacked

 Pakistan Second-Largest Naval Air Base Attacked

(Source: The Balochistan Post)

Militants tried to infiltrate the second-largest naval air station in Turbat, the second-largest city in Balochistan. The attack took place on Sunday night and the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), a separatist militant organisation based in Afghanistan, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

As per the Balochistan Post, the Majeed Brigade of the BLA had claimed in an email said that its fighters entered the airbase. The group has from time to time opposed China’s investments in the province and has accused Beijing and Pakistan of exploiting the region’s resources.

The attack along with others in the past have raised security concerns over China’s Belt and Road initiatives, which local Baloch people have raised objections to.  The BLA had earlier described the attack as a warning to Western businesses considering investment in Gwadar.

Pakistan Inter-Services Public Relations in a statement said that a group of 8 terrorists attempted to enter the port authority but were thwarted by security personnel. According to reports, the airbase is said to house Chinese drones.

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The special wing of the navy had successfully countered the terrorists, The Dawn reported. This is the second attack this week and the third this year. Recently the BLA had targeted Pakistan intelligence headquarters in Gwadar.

The attack is one of the many that have been carried out since 2018 by the BLA and its affiliates, which have been fighting against the Pakistani government for greater regional autonomy.

The attacks have since continued putting at risk the security assurances given by the Pakistani officials to their Chinese counterparts. In a bid to strengthen security, the Chinese over the years have built a compound within the premises of the $50 billion port to safeguard its nationals from terrorist attacks. Beijing has from time to time asked Islamabad to take further steps to secure its citizens and interests.