Pakistan and Iran intend to create a joint force to fight militancy on their border.
Reuters reported on April 22, 2019, that Pakistan and Iran will create a joint quick reaction force, which will be used to respond to contingencies around their shared border involving militant outfits. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made the announcement that day during a press conference with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan.
President Rouhani stated, “We agreed to increase the security cooperation of the two countries, our border forces, our intelligence forces. And also to form a joint quick reaction force on the border of the two countries for fighting terrorism.”
The Pakistani prime minister, who was in Iran on his first official visit to the country since taking office last year, noted, “The most important reason why I’m here, Mr. President, is because I felt that the issue of terrorism was going to … increase differences between our countries.” Prime Minister Khan added, “So it was very important for me to come here and come with our security chief that we resolve this issue.”
Neither provided further details on the proposed joint reaction force.
The relationship between Pakistan and Iran has often been strained by incidents of cross-border militant action. Pakistan-based insurgents have carried out attacks and kidnappings in Iran, while Iran-based militants have carried out ambushes on Pakistani security personnel.
In February 2019, a suicide bomber targeted a bus carrying Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps members in southeastern Iran, killing 27 and wounding another 13. The group Jaish ul-Adl claimed responsibility for the attack, and Iran said that the assailant was a Pakistani national. Last week, militants killed 14 people traveling on a bus in Pakistan’s Baluchestan province. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the attackers had crossed the border from Iran.