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Six dead in clashes at Iran-Pakistan border

A soldier patrols the Pakistan border area [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 April, 2018

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Clashes erupted in the Sistan-Baluchestan border area that has long been plagued by instability and drug smuggling.
Three Iranian security personnel along the Pakistan-Iran border were killed on Tuesday by a cross-border attack, Iran's state news agency IRNA reported.

Two of the soldiers died after their vehicle was struck by an IED explosive device. A third Iranian, in this case a police officer, was killed after a raid on the Mirjaveh border post in the Sistan-Baluchestan province. 

Iran's Revolutionary Guards described the incident as a terrorist attack, and said three people were killed by Iranian security forces in a "firm and timely response".

The cross-border attack comes a day after Iran's security forces seized a large amount of weapons stock and ammunition from militants in the province. Sistan-Baluchestan is majority Sunni and home to the Baluchi speaking ethnic minority. 

From 2005 to 2010, the militant Jundallah group - made up of Baluchi-speakers who are found on both sides of the Iran-Pakistan border - waged an insurgency in Sistan-Baluchestan.

Violence in the area was largely curbed after its leader Abdulmalik Rigi was killed in 2010. 

The province also lies on a major smuggling route for Afghan opium and heroin. 

Violence has sporadically cropped up since 2010 in Sistan-Baluchestan. In April 2017, ten Iranians were killed by militants in Mirjaveh. 

Iran has criticised Pakistan for supporting the Jaysh al-Adl - formed in 2012 by prior Jundallah members - which it says is tied to al-Qaeda and is responsible for numerous attacks in the province. 

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