News / Middle East

Pakistani Jihadis Claim Execution of Iranian Hostage

The Iranian border guards purportedly captured by the Pakistani Jihadist group Jaish al-Adl.
The Iranian border guards purportedly captured by the Pakistani Jihadist group Jaish al-Adl.
Maryam Manzoori
Sunni Muslim militants have killed one of the five Iranian border guards they have been holding hostage for the past six weeks, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Monday.

It identified the victim as Jamshid Danaei-Fard, shown sitting against a mud wall in an unidentified location with the other four captives in a grainy photo apparently taken by their captors.

Fars, quoting an "informed source", said the four other hostages were in good health, without giving further details.

The guards were seized while patroling the lawless frontier with Pakistan on February 8.  Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), an Iranian Sunni Muslim rebel group in Sistan-Baluchistan province later claimed responsibility.

The group claimed responsibility on its Twitter account for the abduction and posted photographs on Facebook and a 15-minute video in their YouTube account allegedly showing the captive guards.

The group said on its website on Sunday that it had killed the border guard. Neither Tehran nor Islamabad could immediately confirm the report. Pakistani authorities said on Monday they were still investigating.

Hossein-Ali Amiri, the Iranian deputy interior minister who previously confirmed the killing of the guard by the rebel group, in a new statement said he hoped the news was not true.

Amiri and the Sistan-Baluchistan provincial governor confirmed the execution according to a local source, but said there is still uncertainty over the news.

Initially the Iranian interior ministry rejected the news, but it was later confirmed by Sistan-Baluchistan provincial officials, home to a large Sunni minority of ethnic Baluch. The controversy has Iran calling on Pakistan to state its “official position”.

Iran has protested the kidnappings and accused Pakistani authorities of failing to protect their shared border. Tehran believed the five were being held in Pakistani territory and dispatched a delegation to Islamabad to pressure Pakistan to free the  frontier guards.

One day after Tehran said it might send forces into Pakistan to free the kidnapped border guards if Islamabad did not take measures to secure their release, Pakistan’s foreign ministry delivered a statement urging Iran to respect its borders. It also said it was possible the kidnappers, along with the abducted guards, were still hiding within the Iranian territory.

Jaish al-Adl in its latest statement, issued on Sunday, March 24, threatened to kill another hostage “if Iran does not free Sunni prisoners”. The group had previously said it would not free the border guards unless 50 Jaish al-Adl members held in Syria, as well as 50 Jaish al-Adl members and 200 other Sunni inmates held in Iranian prisons, were freed.

The kidnapping has further inflamed tension between Tehran and Islamabad over sectarian violence. Iran accuses Pakistan of supporting the rebels.

The Iranian deputy interior minister warned the issue will affect the diplomatic talks between Iran and Pakistan by making them more complicated.

Despite Twitter being blocked in Iran, the hashtag #Freeiraniansoldiers became viral on Twitter after the kidnapping and tens of thousands of outraged tweets came in support of the abductees.

(Some information for this report contributed by Reuters.) 

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs