Karachi, Feb 1: Pakistani security forces have killed at least 21 terrorists linked to a banned separatist group in the troubled Balochistan province since Monday night in an operation launched after militants launched three coordinated attacks, including one on a high-security prison, in the area, a security official said on Thursday.
Following a brazen attack by heavily armed terrorists on the Mach town and Kolpur areas in Balochistan on Monday night, the security forces launched an operation to repulse the attacks and hunt down the perpetrators.
“As a result of the operation in Mach and Kolpur so far 21 terrorists have been eliminated,” the official said.
Four security personnel and two civilians have also been killed during the operation according to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the military’s media wing.
The ISPR has so far officially confirmed the death of 12 terrorists but the security official without wanting to be named said 21 terrorists belonging to the Baloch Liberation Army Mujahid Brigade had been killed.
He also said that the death toll in the security forces could be higher but so far there was no confirmation from the concerned authorities.
On Wednesday, the military’s media wing, reported that multiple terrorists, including suicide bombers, launched attacks on Mach and Kolpur, apparently the target being to penetrate the Central Mach Jail where several high profile of the banned groups and death row prisoners are jailed.
At present, the Mach jail has around 800 prisoners.
A government official said the operation was in its final stages to root out the last remaining terrorists who had fled into the mountains in darkness after their attack was repulsed and foiled by the security forces.
Since last year, the number of attacks on security forces and installations and civilians has increased manifold in Balochistan which is considered a safe haven for militants belonging to extremist Islamic groups and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
The Pakistan government has complained regularly to Iran and Afghanistan, with which it shares a border, to rein in the militants belonging to the TTP and other splinter groups who cross the border and carry out strikes in Balochistan.
Pakistan and Iran’s relations nosedived earlier this month when Iran violated Pakistani airspace to attack what they claimed were terrorist hideouts in Balochistan. Pakistan responded with swift airstrikes in the Sistan-Baluchestan area in Iran against armed groups.–(PTI)