Press TV – Tehran has called on Islamabad to adhere to its commitments under bilateral security agreements days after Pakistan-based terrorists kidnapped a number of Iranian forces, emphasizing the need for a joint operation to determine their fate.
In a letter to his Pakistani counterpart, Shehryar Khan Afridi, on Wednesday, Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli once again urged the neighboring country to spare no effort in securing the release of the abductees, who are reported to have been transferred to Pakistan.
Islamabad, he added, should fully honor its obligations under bilateral security agreements, which require it to prevent attacks targeting Iranian border posts from the Pakistani side.
Earlier this week, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said terrorists had kidnapped a number of Iranian forces, including local Basij volunteer forces and border guards, near the border town of Mirjaveh in the southeastern Province of Sistan and Baluchestan.
The IRGC did not give the exact number of those kidnapped, but Iranian media, quoting unnamed sources, put the number at 14.
Rahmani-Fazli further stressed that the Islamic Republic would firmly deal with Takfiri terrorist groups and bandits, adding, “All efforts should focus on releasing the hostages, decisively confronting the terrorists and preventing a recurrence of such incidents.”
“Within the framework of bilateral relations and the principle of good neighborliness, as well as mutual security commitments, joint operations are urgently needed to achieve results,” said Rahmani Fazli.
Earlier on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif held a phone conversation with his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, to follow up on the fate of the kidnapped border guards.
Zarif stressed the need for strengthening security at common borders based on previous mutual agreements and talks, and urged Islamabad to take immediate and serious action to ensure the safety of the abductees as well as identify and arrest those behind the kidnappings.
Qureshi, in turn, strongly denounced the “inhumane” act of terror against Iranian forces and expressed deep regret over the incident.
The Pakistani minister pledged that Islamabad would make every effort “to identify and arrest the perpetrators of the incident and secure the release of the Iranian border guards.”
These terrorist groups are common enemies of the two governments and nations, he said.
The so-called Jaish ul-Adl terrorist group – which is based in Pakistan – claimed responsibility for the kidnappings shortly afterwards.
The group was formed in 2012 by members of the Pakistan-based Jundallah, another terror outfit which was dismantled by Iranian intelligence forces in 2010 after its ringleader, Abdolmalek Rigi, was executed.
Iranian border guards have repeatedly come under attacks by terror outfits active on the Pakistani soil.
Back in August, Iran managed to release a guard from terrorist captivity. He had been abducted during an ambush on a border outpost in Mirjaveh and held in Pakistan for more than a year.
The two neighbors signed a security deal in 2013.