Gwadar port Completed in 2008, this Chinese-built project transformed a sleepy Baloch fishing village into a major deep-water port. It's strategically located near the Straits of Hormuz – a major oil shipping lane – and China wants access to the sea for its land-locked western provinces. But the US sees it as a potential military base, and the UAE considers it unwelcome competition. Baloch nationalists view Gwadar as an imposition by the central government whose benefits will bypass the province. It has become a hub of violent upheaval in the past two years, with shootings and bombings by nationalists, and reprisal abductions and killings by the security forces. Gwadar was not traditionally under the sway of tribal leaders, suggesting that Balochistan's fifth insurgency has a broader reach than previous ones.
Nato supply lines After the Khyber Pass, Balochistan is Nato's second largest Pakistani supply route to troops in Afghanistan. More than 3,000 trucks pass through Balochistan every month. Between nine and 12 of them are attacked and burned every month, according to army figures. It is not clear whether the attacks are by Baloch militants or pro-Taliban Islamists.
Taliban bases Taliban fighters rest and recuperate in madrasas and mosques dotted along the ethnic Pashtun belt of Balochistan, between Quetta and the border, where at least 30% of the population lives.
Nationalist insurgency One of the world largest natural gas fields is located at Sui, which provides approximately 30% of Pakistan's gas needs. The insurgency started in earnest from this region from 2005, when Bugti tribesmen attacked Pakistani security forces guarding the gas field. In 2006, the army killed the Bugti leader, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, at a cave in the mountains near Kohlu, dramatically fuelling the insurgency. Quetta, the provincial capital, has seen many "disappearances" of Baloch nationalists in recent years. Since July it has also seen a steady stream of bodies dropped on the edge of the city. Electricity, gas supplies and train services to the city are frequently attacked by Baloch rebels. The small town of Khuzdar is home to the Mengal tribe, which has been involved in several of Balochistan's insurgencies over the past six decades. It has seen a string of violent acts in the past year – shootings of journalists, abduction of Baloch activists by security forces, dumping of bodies bearing torture marks. Nationalist rebels, in turn, have lobbed rockets into the local Frontier Corps base and ambushed military convoys.