Militant Ambush Claims Lives of 14 Pakistani Soldiers in Balochistan: Security Forces Targeted

Paramilitary troops patrol after an angry Muslim mob attacked a Christian area in Jaranwala in the Faisalabad district, Pakistan

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On Friday, a tragic incident occurred in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, resulting in the loss of at least 14 Pakistani soldiers’ lives. The attack took place as militants ambushed two vehicles transporting security forces. This marks the deadliest toll suffered by the military in Balochistan this year, following an escalation in attacks by separatists and militants since the termination of a ceasefire deal between the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Pakistani government in November 2022.

The Pakistan Army released a statement reporting that the ambush occurred as terrorists attacked two military vehicles en route from Pasni to the Ormara area in the Gwadar district of Balochistan. They assured that a sanitization operation is underway in the area, with a commitment to bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Balochistan’s caretaker Chief Minister, Ali Mardan Domki, strongly condemned the attack and pledged to ensure that the terrorists responsible for this act are held accountable. This incident comes just two days after security forces successfully eliminated six terrorists in the Sambas area of the Zhob district.

Earlier on the same day, a bomb targeted a police convoy in the Dera Ismail Khan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, resulting in the tragic loss of five lives and injuries to over 20 others. Throughout the year, Balochistan has witnessed a series of attacks on security forces, with a recent incident leading to the deaths of two soldiers in the Khoro area of Awaran district.

Regrettably, acts of violence have been on the rise in Pakistan since the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan in August 2021. According to a report from the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) in September, Pakistan experienced 99 attacks in August, the highest monthly count since November 2014, making it a particularly turbulent period.

The Gwadar district, in particular, has seen a surge in attacks, with separatists from the outlawed Baloch Liberation Army targeting a convoy of 23 Chinese engineers in the port town of Gwadar in August. Thankfully, the engineers remained unharmed, but three terrorists were killed in the attack. These engineers were involved in infrastructure projects in Gwadar port.

Additionally, a report from the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) released in October revealed that security forces lost at least 386 personnel in the first nine months of 2023, marking an eight-year high. During the third quarter of 2023, 445 people lost their lives, and 440 sustained injuries in a total of 190 terror attacks and counter-terror operations, with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan being the primary centers of violence, accounting for nearly 94% of all fatalities and 89% of recorded attacks, including acts of terrorism and security force operations, during this period.

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