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Taliban clamp down on militants targeting CPEC in Balochistan

Move part of reported deal between China, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and includes economic and humanitarian aid for latter

The Taliban have started clamping down on separatist Baloch militant groups targeting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, in exchange for economic support and humanitarian aid from Pakistan and China.

China and Pakistan have succeeded in convincing the Taliban to go after militant groups, which target projects falling under the purview of China’s Belt and Road projects in Pakistan, according to a report in Nikkei Asia.

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The group further desires for sanctions to be removed as part of the ‘deal’. According to the report, the targeted militant groups include separatists that have their sanctuaries in Afghanistan, and Uyghur rebels on the China-Afghanistan border.

The report cited members of banned Baloch militant groups raising alarm over the arrest of members by the Taliban in the provinces of Kandahar and Nimroz of Afghanistan, which border the province of Balochistan in Pakistan.

Baloch militants have attacked projects associated with CPEC and Chinese workers who are part of these projects. In 2018, the banned Baloch Liberation Army attacked the Chinese consulate in Karachi. In August, members of the same group targeted Chinese nationals in Gwadar, the deep-sea port of which is the star project of CPEC.

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The report further stated that pro-militant media publications had reported Taliban driving out Baloch insurgents and families from Afghanistan-Pakistan border provinces.

Furthermore, a Taliban member stated to Nikkei Asia that among people who were being arrested, there were those who belonged to the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP).

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