Iran on Monday warned Pakistan that it would hit terrorist safe havens inside the country if the government does not confront militants who carry out cross-border attacks.

Ten Iranian border guards were killed by militants last month. Iran said Jaish-al-Adl, a militant group, had shot the guards with long-range guns, fired from inside Pakistan.

Major General Mohammad Baqeri, the Chief of Iranian Armed Forces, said the enemies were trying to make up for their failures through hiring terrorists to target Iran’s borders or interests. He said the method was that of “cowardly thieves and bandits” and would only bring the enemies “humiliation and ignominy,” Press TV reported.

Baqeri said the border area on the Pakistani side has “unfortunately” turned into a haven and training ground for “Saudi-hired terrorists, who enjoy the US endorsement.”

The Jaish ul-Adl terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement. The assailants escaped into Pakistani territory immediately after the attack.

Jaish al Adl is a militant group that has carried out several attacks against Iranian security forces with the aim of highlighting what they say is discrimination against minority groups in Iran.

The group claimed responsibility for attacks that killed eight border guards in April 2015 and 14 border guards in October 2013.

Baqeri said Iran “cannot accept the continuation of this situation,” adding, “We expect the Pakistani officials to control the borders, arrest the terrorists and shut down their bases.”

“If the terrorist attacks continue, we will hit with crushing blows their safe havens and cells, wherever they are,” he said.

The border area has long been plagued by unrest from both drug smuggling gangs and separatist militants.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Pakistan last week and asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to improve the border security. Pakistan assured Iran it would deploy additional troops along its border.

First Published | 8 May 2017 5:09 PM
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