Several killed in two attacks in Pakistan’s southwest

Eight people, including four soldiers, killed and 15 others wounded in attacks on security forces in Balochistan ahead of PM Imran Khan’s visit.

Pakistani security officials inspect the scene of a bomb blast in Quetta, capital of Balochistan, May 24, 2021 [Fayyaz Ahmed/EPA]

Islamabad, Pakistan – At least eight people have been killed and 15 wounded in two separate attacks on security forces in the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan, the military says, as Prime Minister Imran Khan is due to visit the region.

The attacks took place near the provincial capital Quetta and in the town of Turbat, the military said in a statement issued early on Tuesday.

In the first incident, a security forces checkpoint on the outskirts of Quetta was attacked by gunmen, the military said.

At least four attackers and four soldiers were killed in the raid, with at least seven attackers and six soldiers wounded, the statement said.

In the second attack, an improvised explosive device targeted a paramilitary forces vehicle in Turbat, west of Karachi, the country’s largest city.

Two soldiers were wounded in that attack, the military said.

The military blamed the attacks on “inimical elements” and “hostile intelligence agencies”.

“Security forces are determined to neutralise their nefarious designs even at the cost of blood and lives,” said the statement.

Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest, least populated and least developed province, and has been the site of an armed separatist campaign by Baloch rebels for at least a decade.

In a statement, the armed Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for the attack in Turbat.

“[The] Baloch Liberation Army will continue its military activities until the restoration of Baloch national state,” said Jeeyand Baloch, spokesperson for the group, in a statement emailed to journalists.

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the veracity of the claim.

Prime Minister Khan is due to visit Quetta and a historical site in the town of Ziarat, northeast of the provincial capital, on Tuesday, his office said in a statement.

On Monday, the country’s powerful army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was visiting Quetta, where he addressed a ceremony of the Pakistani army’s Command and Staff College.

Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @AsadHashim.

Source: Al Jazeera