Wednesday Jan 18, 2023
RAWALPINDI: In the latest strike on the armed forces, as many as four security personnel were martyred when terrorists attacked from "Iranian soil", the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.
The incident took place when terrorists from across the Pakistan-Iran border targeted a convoy of security personnel patrolling along the divide in the Chukab area of Balochistan's Panjgur district.
In response, the military's media wing said that the Iranian side has been asked to hunt down the terrorists.
The development comes as Pakistan tackles rising terror attacks — especially by the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and from across the Afghan border.
According to reports, the TTP regrouped in Afghanistan after the Taliban's takeover, with Pakistan repeatedly asking the interim government in the neighbouring country to ensure that its soil isn't used for terrorism. But the Taliban-led government has not been able to live up to the expectations.
The activities of militants have been mainly focused in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with the former accounting for 31% of the attacks during the last year and the latter 67%, according to statistics provided by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah.
Hours before the attack on security forces, four terrorists were gunned down in a shootout that took place during an intelligence-based operation (IBO) in Balochistan, said the military’s media wing.
The ISPR, in its statement, said the operation was launched to clear a hideout of terrorists, linked with firing incidents on security forces and civilians besides planting "improvised explosive devices on M-8, in general area Talsar, Hoshab”.
Just a day earlier, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir vowed that the military would thwart attempts by "foreign-sponsored and supported" hostile elements to destabilise Balochistan.
During his visit to Balochistan's Khuzdar and Basima areas, according to ISPR, the army chief emphasised maintaining optimum operational readiness while interacting with troops on site to counter instability in the province.
"We are aware of the nefarious designs of external enemies of Pakistan to disturb the hard-earned peaceful environment in Balochistan," General Munir added.
The army’s deployment and operations, he said, "are being focused in the south-western province to provide an enabling environment for benevolent people-centric socioeconomic development".
Last month, five soldiers were martyred and more than a dozen others injured as seven separate blasts ripped through Balochistan — in Quetta, Turtbat, Hub, and Kohlu districts.