(Adds provincial minister, background)
By Gul Yousufzai
QUETTA, Pakistan Aug 14 (Reuters) - At least eight blasts and sustained gunfire were heard near Quetta airport in western Pakistan on Thursday night, residents and security officials said.
The gunfire had lasted for around half an hour so far, residents said, and was still going on. They said they could also hear helicopters buzzing overhead.
Sarfraz Bugti, home minister in the provincial government Baluchistan, confirmed an attack had taken place but was unable to give further details.
The target of the attack was unclear, but Pakistan has suffered several recent attacks on its airports.
In June, a Taliban attack killed 30 people at the airport in Karachi, the southern city home to 18 million people.
The same month, militants fired on a plane landing in Peshawar, killing one woman passenger and narrowly missing the pilot.
In recent days, the attention of Pakistani security agencies has been focused on two large anti-government protests that are due to reach the capital on Friday. (Reporting by Gul Yousufzai; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)