Kidnapping of Iranians puts Iran-Pakistan ties to the test

Al-Monitor | : In the early hours of Oct. 16, members of Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish ul-Adl kidnapped 14 Iranian security personnel in Iran’s southeastern Sistan and Baluchestan province. The incident happened in the village of Lulakdan, near the town of Mirjaveh on the Pakistani border. Although similar incidents have taken place in the past, the current regional context is noticeably different than before.

Iran, in addition to dealing with new economic and security challenges resulting from tensions with the United States, was rocked by a deadly terrorist attack on a military parade in the southwestern city of Ahvaz last month. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, the new government is expected to pursue a path different from the traditional Muslim League parties. In Saudi Arabia, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi has brought the kingdom under an unprecedented wave of criticism by its American and European allies. Yet the most significant question posed by the Oct. 16 kidnapping pertains to the Iran-Pakistan relationship.

Tensions rose between Tehran and Islamabad in April 2017, when Jaish ul-Adl militants killed 10 Iranian border guards in Sistan and Baluchestan province and then fled back across the border into Pakistan. A brief verbal clash between Pakistan and Iran ensued. Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, the chief of the general staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, called on the Pakistani government to confront militants who carry out cross-border attacks, warning that if Islamabad failed to do so, Tehran would hit militant “safe havens, wherever they are.”

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