US lists BLA as global terrorist outfit: group says move 'unjustified'
The Department of State has designated the BLA as specially designated global terrorist (SDGT)
Washington/Islamabad: The US has declared the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) as a global terrorist organisation, a move decried as "unjustified" by the separatist group fighting Pakistani rule in the resource-rich Balochistan province. Pakistan in 2006 banned the outfit and has been urging the US to do the same.
"The BLA is an armed separatist group that targets security forces and civilians, mainly in ethnic Baloch areas of Pakistan," the State Department said on Tuesday. The Department of State has designated the BLA as specially designated global terrorist (SDGT) outfit and made it a crime for anyone in the US to assist the outfit's militants and freezing any US assets they may have.
"The outfit has carried out several terrorist attacks in the past year, including a suicide attack in August 2018 that targeted Chinese engineers in Balochistan, a November 2018 attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi, and a May 2019 attack against a luxury hotel in Gwadar," it added.
In May this year, five people, including a Pakistani soldier, were killed after BLA gunmen stormed a five-star hotel in the port city of Gwadar. Welcoming the US' move, Pakistan said it hopes the action would ensure that the BLA's space to operate is minimised.
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