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23 Nov 2020 | 12:13 PM UTC

Pakistan: Rail travel disrupted in Balochistan province after militants sabotage tracks in Bolan district November 22

Suspected militants sabotage tracks in Bolan district on November 22 disrupting rail travel across Balochistan; highlights risk from militancy

security
transportation
PAK

Event

Suspected separatist militants blew up a section of railway track in Balochistan's Bolan district on Sunday, November 22, disrupting rail travel throughout the province. The attack is reported to have targeted a section of track between Mach and Hirak on Sunday morning, forcing the closure of the mainline to Quetta. Services between the provincial capital and other cities, including Rawalpindi, Karachi, and Lahore were halted and canceled following the bombing. Engineers have since been sent to repair the track, but it is currently unclear when services will be restored.

Residual disruptions to rail services in Balochistan are likely in the near term. Further attacks targeting railway lines and other infrastructure remain likely in the medium term.

Context

Separatist militants in Balochistan have frequently targeted railway lines in remote areas of the province in attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to sabotage the line and disrupt services. Most of these incidents are intended to cause infrastructural damage and disrupt travel but passenger rail services have also occasionally been directly targeted, including an IED attack in March 2019 in which four people were killed.

Advice

Those in Balochistan are advised to monitor developments and review travel itineraries involving rail travel. The threat from terrorism remains high in Balochistan and travel to the province should be subject to strict security measures following a thorough localized threat assessment. Travelers should maintain a heightened level of vigilance and immediately report any suspicious items or activity to security forces.

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