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U.S. Designates Pakistan's Balochistan Liberation Army As Terrorist Group

FILE: Purported members of the banned Baloch Liberation Army organization wait to hand over their weapons during a surrender ceremony in Quetta, capital of Balochistan Province in November 2015.

The United States has designated Pakistan's separatist Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) as a terrorist group and says Washington is working to deny the organization access to resources for planning and carrying out attacks.

The U.S. State Department announced the decision on July 2, saying the BLA was "an armed separatist group that usually targets security forces and civilians, mainly in ethnic Baluch areas" of southwestern Pakistan.

The State Department announcement says the BLA carried out a suicide attack in August 2018 that targeted Chinese engineers in Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan, a November 2018 attack on the Chinese Consulate in Karachi, and a May 2019 attack on a luxury hotel in Pakistan's southwestern port city of Gwadar.

Balochistan Province has been the scene of a low-level insurgency by separatists demanding more autonomy and a greater share of the region's natural resources.

The State Department announcement also includes an alert that Pakistan's Jundallah militant group, which is associated with the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan and was designated as a terrorist group by Washington in 2010, is now primarily using the name Jaysh al-Adl.

"Since its inception, the group has engaged in numerous attacks that have killed scores of Iranian civilians and government officials, including a February 2019 suicide bombing and the October 2018 kidnapping of Iranian security personnel," the State Department said.