ISLAMABAD - Pakistan says Iranian forces have killed an officer and wounded three members of its border security force. The rare clash occurred Friday, a day after Tehran warned it would intervene on the Pakistani side if the neighboring country failed to prevent terrorist infiltrations into Iran.
A spokesman for Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corps, which guards the southwestern border with Iran, says its personnel were engaged in a car chase to try to capture a group of what it called “miscreants” when Iranian forces opened “indiscriminate” gun and mortar fire at them.
An official statement Friday night quoted the spokesman as saying the attack in the Mand border region killed one member of the Pakistani force and wounded three others. Their vehicle was also damaged.
He went on to allege that up to 30 Iranian forces and several military vehicles took part in the raid that took place two kilometers inside Pakistani territory.
Pakistani commanders have condemned the deadly attack and infiltration of Iranian border guards as blatant violations of international laws. They say security along the 900-kilometer border with Iran has been tightened with deployment of additional forces to deter future Iranian violations.
The incident took place a day after Iranian Brigadier General Hussein Slamai warned that his forces may enter Pakistani territory to prevent terrorist infiltrations into Iran.
Iranian state media on Thursday quoted the general, the second-in-command of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, as warning it would go after terrorists on the Pakistani side if the neighboring country failed to provide border security.
But Pakistan foreign ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam, speaking hours before the border incident, dismissed Iranian assertions.
“We believe that if Iran has any evidence that elements cross from Pakistan to launch terrorist activities they should share that evidence with us. As far as our information goes all these terrorist activities took place inside Iranian territory by elements inside Iran. And that is confirmed by their accounts. We have to be realistic about these things. It is not a good strategy to externalize problems. We all need to focus on eliminating terrorism from our territories," said Aslam.
Aslam says the two countries have devised joint mechanisms to investigate any illegal activity on the border, adding investigations into previous alleged terrorist incursions from the Pakistani side led to the conclusions they were unfounded. She reiterated that Pakistan is determined not to allow terrorists to use its soil against Iran or any other country.
Iranian media reported Friday that two Iranian border guards were killed in clashes with “rebels” who tried to infiltrate the country from Pakistan. Iranian officials reported last week that four border guards were killed by unknown assailants in the same region.
Tehran has long alleged that anti-Iran Sunni extremists are using their hideouts in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province to conduct deadly attacks on their soil.