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August 22, 2009

Appeal from Kulber Valley for Investigation

Update Aug 22, 2009:
Report at balochwarna.org: Iranian forces have fired over 50 rockets into the bordering town of Mashkail...

Update Aug 22, 2009:
Report by Archen Baloch

(Mand, Kulber Valley) The joint Pakistani and Iranian military operation initiated on August 16 in Kulber Valley now covers the entire Makuran region and is expanding to other districts. Iranian forces are participating with gunship helicopters and rockets. AAJ TV reports that in the middle of the night, Friday, August 21, fourteen rockets were fired from the Iranian side of the border at Mashkeel City. Three women and children were reported killed and five injured. The injured ones have been shifted to a civilian hospital, but these figures do not tally with the numbers obtained by Radio Gwank of Balochistan from Mashkeel local media. Apart from the destruction of homes, shops and wareshouses, the casualties and injuries recorded by the local media are far more then those of AAJ TV reports. The total numbers of deaths are 161, in which children and women are included. The number of injured are 293, some of whom are in critical condition. According to interviews with the local population in Mashkeel, the 14 rockets were fired at residential areas by Iranian forces from a Revolutionary Guard camp in an effort to reinforce Pakistani-initiated operations designed to "retaliate for successful actions of the Baloch Sarmachars [fighters] against occupying forces." Just two weeks ago, Lieutenant Colonel Jawad, from Mardan city of NWFP, was killed in an ambush by Baloch Sarmachars in the Mashkeel Mountains. Pakistani controlled media, however, reported that he had been killed by smugglers.

Statements from insurgent groups:

Baloch Republican Party spokesperson Mir Sher M. Bugti reported to N N I that in the early morning of Friday, August 21, "Joint Pakistani and Iranian forces launched a new wave of operations backed by gunship helicopters in the Sibi area of Shahi Darbar, Rustom Darbar and Zain Koh. Casualties include ten children and women." According to Bugti, Mand, Tump, Nasirabad, Mashkeh and Turbat are still under siege.

Basham Baloch, the spokesperson of the Baloch Liberation Front, telephoned Radio Gwank from an undisclosed location to report, "The Pakistani military is targeting civilians in cities and villages over its frustration with BLF successes against Pakistani forces." He added that, "The BLF is determined to force Pakistani occupying forces out of our country. The Pakistani military is destined to fail in Balochistan. In contravention of Geneva Convention rules, Pakistani forces are targeting our civilian population. They cannot compete with Baloch national forces in the battle field."

Update Aug 20, 2009: According to our source, "This map [below] shows the location of the Pakistani and Iranian joint military operation. Kulber Valley is situated at the end tip of the Iranian border, close to Haspikan village, where the Nehing river passes. The pictures posted at gwank.org were taken on the second day of the operation. The people in the photos are protesting the operation--blocking the road because to prevent the transport of military personnel and equipment for the operation..." (additional photos at balochwarna.org)
Men and women block roads to prevent military vehicles and supplies from passing. In the bottom photo, defiant protestors have used rocks to spell out the acronym 'BRA' (Baloch Republican Army). The BRA is one of several Baloch insurgent groups fighting the Pakistani military. Photos published at gwank.org; additional photos at balochwarna.org;  

August 19, 2009:
Reports from Kulber Valley, Balochistan, state that for the past three days Iranian and Pakistani military forces have conducted a joint operation against the Baloch located in the border valley of Kulber, Shahaaf. Baloch media is providing real-time updates regarding this operation in which gunship helicoptors, jet air fighters and heavy guns are deployed. In Kulber Valley there are reports of civilian deaths, as well as the destruction of livestock and crops. Civilians are unable to secure food supplies. Sagaar.org notes that there have been attacks on the town of Tump and shutter down strikes in the adjacent areas of Awaman, Turbat and Mand. Photos in reports depict civilian protests. Original report, gwank.org, Aug 18, 2009; also here; and from sagaar.org, Aug 20, 2009 reports   

Map detail compiled from: http://www.traveljournals.net/explore/pakistan/map/m3843187/mand.html