QUETTA/KARACHI: The Pakistani military said on Thursday its intelligence had linked overnight twin attacks on Frontier Corps bases in southwestern Balochistan province to handlers in India and Afghanistan.
The attacks in Panjgur and Naushki that killed at least seven troops were claimed by the separatist Baloch Liberation Army, which said it had used suicide bombers to enter the bases.
Pakistan has been for years accusing India of covertly supporting the insurgents. India denies the claims.
"As per initial investigation, intelligence agencies have intercepted communications between terrorists and their handlers in Afghanistan and India," the Pakistani military said in a statement.
"After successfully repulsing terrorist attacks at Panjgur and Naushki yesterday night, Security Forces carried out clearance operation to hunt down terrorists hiding in the area."
It said 13 militants had been killed during a security operation following the attack.
Local authorities said the operation was still underway in Panjgur.
“Security forces are conducting search operation right now in different pockets of the city where, they believe, can be the presence of terrorists,” Shabbir Mengal, commissioner of Makran division, told Arab News.
Ghulam Mustafa of the Balochistan Levies Force said the forces had blocked the roads leading toward the army's compound, as a curfew was in place.
"We are still hearing gunfire from inside the Frontier Corps' headquarters sporadically," he added.
Police in Naushki also said a complete curfew had been imposed in the city.
Station House Office Naushki Police Khalid Badini told Arab News he had heard explosions this morning while a clearance operation was conducted inside the Frontier Corps Headquarters. He said one civilian was killed during Wednesday's attack.
Separatists have been fighting security forces for years in the province over what they see as unfair exploitation of its vast mineral wealth. They also claim security forces have pushed them to take up arms because of a long history of human rights abuses against the Baloch people, which authorities in the province have vehemently denied.
Insurgents are also opposed to, and attack, projects linked to China's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative in the resource-rich province.
The US in 2019 classified the Balochistan Liberation Army as a terrorist group.