BLA militants using
abandoned US weapons
in Afghanistan in attacks
against Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: Arms abandoned by the retreating US forces and the Afghan National Army (ANA) during the Taliban assault last year have found their way to Baloch militants in Pakistan, a report has said.

The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) militants who attacked the paramilitary camps of Noshki and Panjgur in early February were armed with high-tech military gear, far superior to that carried by Pakistan army soldiers, who according to reports struggled to defend their positions at the targeted military camps, said Asia Times on Wednesday.

The attacks left at least nine Pakistani soldiers and 20 militants dead. The BLA militants were mostly holding M-16A4 and M-4A2 rifles during the assaults, while also equipped with Dual Beam Aiming Lasers (DBALs) that can be attached to any weapon for accurate fire in the darkness.

The militants were also carrying PVS 7D head-mounted night sight devices that allowed them to accurately aim at off-guard Pakistani soldiers.

“These modern technologies are now in the hands of terrorists, which sent a warning bell to Islamabad. The terrorists were holding weapons far superior to the ones carried by Army soldiers,” quoted Asia Times citing an anonymous Pakistani official.

In an October 2021 report, the New York Times revealed that American weapons and military accessories were being openly sold in shops by Afghan gun dealers who paid then-government soldiers as well as Taliban fighters for the equipment.

Militants of Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA)

“The BLA had sanctuaries in Afghanistan and Iran and it was quite easy for them to get hold of this weaponry through arm-runners or from the Taliban fighters who have just pushed behind the carpet Islamabad’s demand to take major action against the Baloch separatists,” Mansur Khan Mahsud, executive director of the Islamabad-based FATA Research Centre (FRC), was quoted as saying.

Terror attacks on rise

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, which was widely celebrated in Pakistan in August last year, has worsened the terror situation in the country.

In 2021, terror incidents increased by a massive 42 percent over the last year according to the Islamabad-based Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), reported The New York Times on Tuesday.

A file picture of Militants of Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA)

A significant surge in incidents was recorded after Kabul fell to the Taliban. The PIPS report also went on to say that the change in Afghanistan is “not helping in any way Pakistan’s efforts to deal with the militant groups threatening its security.”

The Pakistan Taliban, which was considerably weakened by late 2020, has regrouped and is involved in running extortion rackets throughout Pakistan.

“Traders are forced to pay huge amounts of extortion money because of fear,” The New York Times quoted a Karachi-based trader, Muhammad Azam as saying.

“If a trader refuses to pay it, the militants detonate small bombs near their homes to frighten them into succumbing to their demands. If they continue to refuse payment, militants harm them or their family members,” Azam further said.

Balochistan map

Terrorists have also been particularly targetting polio vaccination teams. Police officers to protect such teams have been on the target.

In 2021, militants, mainly belonging to the Pakistani Taliban, killed 48 policemen and injured 44 others in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Most of the violent incidents took place in the last few months of the year (after the Taliban takeover).

Despite repeated attempts, Pakistan has been unable to get firm guarantees from the Afghan Taliban that they would take action against the Pakistani Taliban operating in Afghanistan, the publication said. Taliban also refuses to accept the Durand Line as the boundary between the two countries.

In the past two months, there have been clashes between Afghan Taliban and Pakistani forces along the Durand Line in Nangarhar, Kandahar, Nimroz, Kunar, and Khost provinces over the construction of barbed wire fences, some of which have been fenced off by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

However, the top leadership in Pakistan continues to argue for international recognition of the new Taliban regime.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Imran Khan in an interview with CNN said, “The only alternative we have right now is to work with them (Taliban) and incentivize them for what the world wants: inclusive government, human rights, and women’s rights in particular.” (ANI)