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Iran calls for joint operation with Pakistan to secure release of abducted forces

Tehran has called on Islamabad to adhere to its commitments under bilateral security agreements days after Pakistan-based terrorists kidnapped a number of Iranian forces, emphasizing the need for a joint operation to determine their fate.

According to Press TV, in a letter to his Pakistani counterpart, Shehryar Khan Afridi, on Wednesday, Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli once again urged the neighboring country to spare no effort in securing the release of the abducted Iranian forces, who are reported to have been transferred to Pakistan.

Islamabad, he added, should fully honor its obligations under bilateral security agreements, under which Pakistan is required to prevent terror activities near Iran as well as attacks targeting Iranian border posts from the Pakistani side.

Earlier this week, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said terrorists had kidnapped a number of Iranian forces, including local Basij volunteer forces and border guards, overnight near the town of Mirjaveh the Southeastern Province of Sistan and Baluchestan bordering Pakistan.

The IRGC did not say how many were kidnapped, but Iranian media, quoting unnamed sources, put the number of the abductees at 14.

Rahmani Fazli further stressed that the Islamic Republic would firmly deal with Takfiri terrorist groups and bandits, adding, “All efforts should focus on releasing the hostages, decisively confronting the terrorists and preventing a recurrence of such bitter incidents.”

“Within the framework of bilateral relations and the principle of good neighborliness, as well as security commitments between the two countries, joint operations are urgently needed to achieve the result,” said Rahmani Fazli.

Earlier on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif also held a phone conversation with his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, to follow up on the fate of the kidnapped border guards.

Zarif stressed the need for strengthening security at common borders based on previous mutual agreements and talks, urging Islamabad to take immediate and serious action to ensure the safety of the abductees and identify and arrest those behind the kidnappings.

Qureshi, in turn, strongly denounced the “inhumane” act of terror against Iranian forces and expressed deep regret over the incident.

The Pakistani minister pledged that Islamabad would make every effort “to identify and arrest the perpetrators of the incident and secure the release of the Iranian border guards.”

These terrorist groups are common enemies of the two governments and nations, he said.

The so-called Jaish ul-Adl terrorist group – which is based in Pakistan –claimed responsibility for the kidnappings shortly afterwards.