Pakistan launches military operation near Afghan border
:: Pakistan said it has launched a new military operation near the Afghan border to combat militants.
Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, an army spokesman, said an infantry division backed by air force and artillery will clear the Rajgal Valley in the Khyber tribal region.
He said Pakistan has informed Afghan authorities and urged them to take similar measures on their side of the border.
Afghanistan and Pakistan have long accused each other of turning a blind eye to militants operating along their porous border.
Pakistan’s construction of a fence along part of the frontier has also caused tensions, as Afghanistan does not recognize the colonial-era line as an international border.
In a separate development, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said two Iranian civilians were killed in a cross-border attack by Pakistani insurgents.
“On Saturday evening, a terrorist team… fired (ammunition) from within Pakistani territory toward the Iranian border region of Saravan” in Sistan-Baluchistan province, the Guards said in a statement on their Sepahnews website.
“Two local workers in the region were martyred in this terrorist attack,” it added.
Forces from the Quds force — the Guards’ foreign operations wing — killed one of the attackers and wounded two, while others fled back into Pakistani territory, the statement said.
The insurgent group was not identified, but for years the region has been the site of frequent attacks by the Jaish Al-Adl jihadist group, which Tehran claims has links to Al-Qaeda and is based in the Pakistani province of Balochistan.
Jaish Al-Adl was blamed for an attack in April that killed 10 Iranian border guards in the nearby Mirjaveh region.
President Hassan Rouhani wrote to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif calling for greater efforts to prevent insurgent attacks along the border.
The Guards also said on June 19 that they had killed the leader and four members of another jihadist group called Ansar Al-Furqan in the Iranian port city of Chabahar in Sistan-Baluchistan province.