Tehran on Monday warned Islamabad that it would hit bases inside Pakistan if the government does not confront Sunni militants who carry out cross-border attacks. Ten Iranian border guards were killed and one abducted by militants last month in the southeastern province of Sistan-Balouchestan, which borders Pakistan.
“We expect the Pakistani officials to control the borders, arrest the terrorists and shut down their bases.” said Major Gen. Mohammad Baqeri. The head of the Iranian armed forces was quoted by state news agency IRNA.
The United States has pressed Islamabad to do more to crack down on militant groups that operate from its soil. U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster called on Pakistani leaders during a trip to Kabul last month to go after militant groups on their soil “less selectively than they have in the past.”
“Our relationships with Iran are improving; not only economic ties but we are also moving toward a close cooperation on security issues,” Awais Ahmad Leghari, chairman of the Senate committee foreign affairs, told VOA.
“Whatever is happening on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as on the borders with India and Iran, is in fact a major challenge for Pakistan's foreign policy,” said Rashid Ahmad, a professor of international studies at Punjab University.
Pakistani authorities in mid-February closed all border crossings with Afghanistan for over a month after a string of suicide bombings in Pakistan. The protracted border closure cost businesses on both sides tens of millions of dollars and fueled bilateral tensions.