Pakistan and Iran to form rapid reaction force along border area

by Garry Watts April 23, 2019, 0:57
Pakistan and Iran to form rapid reaction force along border area

A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency on April 22, 2019, shows President Hassan Rouhani, right, and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in Tehran.

Talking to news men in Islamabad, here today the Mr Jing maintained that Prime Minister Imran Khan's upcoming visit to China will provide an opportunity to both the countries to further explore their bilateral cooperation. He explained that in addition to deploying additional forces and helicopter surveillance, Pakistan already has begun fencing the "most vulnerable" portions of the border with Iran.

"We agreed to create a joint rapid reaction force at the borders for combating terrorism", Rouhani said, following months of increased tensions over attacks on both sides of the two countries' frontier.

The February suicide bombing attack killed 27 members of the Revolutionary Guards in Iran's Sistan-Baluchistan province.

In a letter written to the Iranian embassy on Friday, the MoFA stated: "Killing of 14 innocent Pakistanis by terrorist groups based in Iran is a very serious incident that Pakistan protests strongly".

The Sunni jihadist group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), which Tehran accused of perpetrating the bombing against its armed forces, is blamed by Pakistan for targeting its troops in its own Balochistan province last week.

According to diplomatic sources, border security issues will be on top of PM Khan's agenda in Tehran, especially the April 18 terror attack in Ormara in which 14 armed forces personnel were killed.

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"The information about the hubs of these Baloch terrorist organisations in Iran, having training camps and logistics bases across the border, was shared with Iranian intelligence in the recent past, and on a number of occasions earlier", the letter read.

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The victims were not initially identified and it was speculated they could be Shia Muslims and ethnic workers from Punjab, but later it emerged that they were security personnel, majority associated with the Pakistan Navy. Qureshi said he spoke to his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and conveyed to him the "anger of Pakistani nation". Ethnic Baloch people straddle the porous and lengthy Iran-Pakistan border, with many insurgent groups crisscrossing the border to the annoyance of authorities.

"It is a vast area and the control over the area is hard, it makes it easy for groups to be active on both sides", he said.

The foreign minister said Pakistan hopes Iran will take visible action like Pakistan did by recovering abducted Iranian officials.

"Iran is ready to meet Pakistan's oil and gas demands". Iran alleges the terrorist organization receives support from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, charges both countries reject. He thanked Rouhani for the hospitality and respect extended to the Pakistani delegation. "That is one of the reasons why Imran Khan has gone, to keep this clear".

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