Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has confirmed claims made by the so-called Jaish ul-Adl terrorist group about the names and number of the Iranian border guards abducted in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan on the border with Pakistan.
IRGC spokesman, Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif, told IRNA on Monday that 12 border guards have been kidnapped, rejecting earlier reports about the abduction of 14 forces.
The Pakistan-based terrorist group on Sunday posted two photos on its social media channel and claimed responsibility for the abduction of 12 Iranian security personnel, including IRGC and Army forces, near the town of Mirjaveh on the Pakistani border.
The photos also showed a haul of automatic weapons and sniper rifles, rocket launchers, machine-guns, grenades and ammunition, allegedly seized by the group from the Iranian forces.
Sharif further noted that terrorists attacked Iranian border bases 50 times during the past year. He added that using infiltrators was a tactic used by such groups, which had generally failed except for the recent kidnapping of Iranian forces in which they managed “to execute their plan.”
Talks underway with Pakistan to determine fate of abductees: Zarif
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also said on Monday that talks were underway between Tehran and Islamabad to determine the fate of the kidnapped forces.
He added that the two countries’ senior officials held talks about the need to increase the presence of Pakistani forces along the common border.
He noted that the Pakistani government is responsible for following up on the case, because the abductees are being held on the Pakistani soil.
In a phone call with his Pakistani counterpart, Shehryar Khan Afridi, on Saturday, Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said Tehran expected Islamabad to collect intelligence and confront terrorist groups.
Rahmani Fazli expressed the Iranian security forces’ readiness to cooperate with Pakistan to ensure security along the common border.
In a phone call with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri demanded that Islamabad push for the release of the kidnapped Iranian forces.
“Based on agreements [signed] between the Armed Forces of the two countries to ensure security of common borders, we expect the Pakistani Armed Forces to adopt the necessary preparations and push for the immediate release of the abducted [Iranian] soldiers and border guards,” Baqeri said.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi also said on October 16 that Pakistan should instantly adopt all necessary measures to help release the abducted Iranian forces.
“The Pakistani government should immediately implement all necessary means and measures to free border guards of the Islamic Republic of Iran and arrest the wicked terrorists,” Qassemi added.
Senior IRGC commanders in Pakistan for talks on kidnapped Iranians
Earlier on Monday, Sharif had said that the IRGC has made “special and immediate” efforts to secure the release of the kidnapped Iranian forces and counter the terrorists supported by foreign intelligence services.
He added that the IRGC’s chief commander, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, and Commander of IRGC’s Ground Force Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour, traveled to Pakistan at the head of a delegation.
They would pursue the release of the abductees and consult with Pakistani officials on joint measures to severely counter terrorism and ensure lasting security in border areas, the IRGC spokesman said.