Pakistan said on Wednesday that it would coordinate with Iran to share information on the killing of eight Iranian border guards by militants on Tuesday, to ensure they do not escape through the porous border that divides the two countries.
The eight guards were killed by Pakistan-based militants in the country’s southeastern border. The attack, which took place in the volatile Sistan-Baluchistan region of Iran, was carried out by the Jeish al-Adl group, which is said to be inspired by al Qaeda, according to Iran’s Fars news agency, cited by the Associated Press (AP).
The militants reportedly fled back to Pakistan after the attack, and local authorities said they had asked Pakistani authorities to apprehend them and hand them over to Iran. “Armed terrorists entered Iran from Pakistan and clashed with border guards, killing eight soldiers before fleeing back to Pakistan,” Ali Asghar Mirshekari, deputy governor of Sistan-Baluchistan province, said on Tuesday.
Iranian security forces have frequently clashed with Sunni fundamentalist groups from Pakistan, who see themselves as countering the influence of Iran’s Shia Islam in the region. “For Pakistan's Islamic fundamentalists, the country is already a ‘Sunni Wall’ against Shiite Iran,” Siegfried Wolf, a senior research fellow and lecturer in international and comparative politics at the University of Heidelberg’s South Asia Institute, told Deutsche Welle.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is set to meet Pakistani officials in Islamabad later on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing conflict in Yemen, where a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and supported by Pakistan is conducting airstrikes against Houthi rebels who are backed by Iran, according to the AP.