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Iranian drone on spying mission shot down ‘inside’ Balochistan

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An unmanned Iranian drone allegedly on a spying mission was shot down by a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) JF-17 Thunder fighter jet in Balochistan’s Panjgur area, official sources confirmed to DawnNews on Tuesday.

The officials said the unmanned aircraft was shot down by a JF-17 in the Parom area of Panjgur district after it ventured “deep inside Pakistani airspace” on a spying mission.

They spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to media.

Security forces took custody of the debris after discovering the wreckage on Monday, but it is still unclear when the drone was shot down.

Security was tightened in the area following the incident. The PAF has declined to comment on the matter.

This is the second Iranian drone to have been reported shot down in 24 hours after US-coalition forces confirmed that they had downed an Iranian-made drone operated by pro-regime forces in southern Syria early Tuesday.

Iran’s army chief recently warned that Tehran would strike ‘militant safe havens’ inside Pakistan ─ remarks that drew a strong protest from Islamabad ─ after 10 Iranian border guards were killed by militants allegedly from across the border earlier this year.

Afghanistan: US soldiers ‘killed by commando’ in Achin district

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Three US special forces soldiers have been shot dead by an Afghan colleague during an operation in eastern Afghanistan, US officials say.

A spokesman for the governor in Nangahar province said an Afghan commando had opened fire on the US troops during a joint operation in Achin. He was shot dead in return fire.

Another US soldier was reportedly wounded in the attack.

A spokesman for the Taliban said it had carried out the attack.

Islamic State militants also operate in the area.

Earlier, at least two Afghan policemen were killed by US forces in a so-called friendly fire incident in southern Afghanistan.

The deaths are said to have occurred when a US aircraft returned fire during a joint operation in the restive province of Helmand.

It is reported to be the first friendly fire incident in Helmand since US Marines returned there in May.

Taliban insurgents have made widespread gains in the province.

In a statement, the US military apologised for the incident and said that an investigation had been launched.

It happened as police were on patrol in volatile Nad Ali district. The dead were members of the Afghan Border Police.

Afghan officials told AFP news agency that the policemen were patrolling too close to a Taliban base prior to the attack. They say a number of militants were also killed in the strike.

In recent months, the Taliban have captured several districts in Helmand and put provincial capital Lashkar Gah under pressure.

The arrival of hundreds of US Marines – following the withdrawal of US troops three years ago – is part of the Nato-led effort to train and assist Afghan forces. They include special forces who conduct separate counter-terrorism operations.

Pakistan has made Balochistan ‘hell on Earth’: Baloch activist Mengal

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Baloch activist Munir Mengal has said that Pakistan has made Balochistan a “hell on Earth”.

Speaking during the ongoing 35th session of the Human Rights Council here, Mengal said that despite Pakistan’s lofty rhetoric of promoting and protecting human rights of its citizens, “the degree and the extent of suffering and repression experienced by the Baloch people under the brutal control of the Islamic state is equivalent to being as a hell on Earth”.

He alleged that all opinions and viewpoints in Balochistan that contradict Pakistan’s position on any issue are considered as “subversive” and any information which directly or indirectly concerns the governance, policies and activities of Pakistan are viewed as “state secret”.

Mengal noted that Balochistan remained closed for much of 2016 and 2017 amid heavy military operations.

“Fear, intimidation and repression have become constant elements in the Baloch peoples’ lives,” said the Baloch activist.

He added that Pakistan has imposed virtual martial law in Balochistan.

“Pakistani authorities have poured in massive deployment of armed security personnel into Balochistan and stepped up vigilance and surveillance over the Baloch diaspora as well,” said Mengal.

The Baloch activist further added, “In September 2012, a delegation of the UN body Working Group on Enforced disappearance visited Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan, and met with the family members of the disappeared persons. The delegation was given a ‘highly controlled and censored tour’ and many of the group’s questions remained unanswered. But, till date the family members are looking for their loved ones.”

“The security measures on the name of CPEC are viewed as a call on the government, military, police and to the ruling Punjabi in all areas to firmly crush the political demands of the Baloch people particularly defeat the voices asking to regain their sovereignty on their land and had waged war on people to maintain stability in the region,” he added.

-ANI

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