Terrorist Organization Profile:
Baloch Liberation Army (BLA)

n/a
Baluchistan Liberation Army
Pakistan
December 28, 2003
Unknown number of members
Nationalist/Separatist
Unknown
The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) represents the violent side of the struggle of the Baloch people to gain rights that they claim have been denied to them by the Pakistani government. Sources of discontent in Balochistan include a desire for increased benefits from the region's mineral resources, an end to discrimination in government recruiting practices, and a more meaningful role for local Baloch government institutions in the construction of the Gwadar port in the region. The Baloch people were also involved in a violent struggle with the Pakistani government and military over these issues in the 1970s.


The group's membership includes many who, although too young to have experienced the Balochi resistance movement of the 1970s, have lived abroad in the Gulf region and have acquired expertise in arms, ammunition and explosives. The BLA is thought to operate with a loose structure, with small autonomous cells able to carry out acts on their own without directives from above.

The BLA remains a threat to law and order in Balochistan province. Several factors complicate the situation and could potentially internationalize the conflict. First, Pakistani security forces in Balochistan are simultaneously fighting both armed Balochi separatists and remnants of al-Qaeda and the Taliban in this area. Second, Pakistan alleges involvement of the BLA in the bombing at the China-funded Gwadar port. Third, armed Marri Baloch tribesmen who had been in exile in Afghanistan have begun to return to Balochistan. These tribesmen are suspected of collaborating with the BLA, with whom they openly sympathize, although they have denied any official connection.


The BLA has recently claimed responsibility for the bombing of a crowded market in Quetta, which killed 11 and injured 27. Four vehicles, including a military vehicle, were also destroyed. Pakistani government sources claim that the military vehicle was not the target, while the BLA claimed responsibility but expressed "deep grief over the civilian casualties caused by the blast." Despite BLA's "regret," the group remains an active terrorist threat.


Key Leaders

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Related Groups

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U.S. Government Designations

No
No

Learn more about these U.S. Department of State classifications:

Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs)

Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL)


Other Governments' Designations

Yes
No
No
No
No

Global Terrorism Database

For information compiled by the Global Terrorism Database on terrorist incidents for which this group was responsible click here.



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