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Pakistan Says It Recovered Five Of 12 Iranian Guards Abducted Near Border


Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (left) with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad.

Pakistan on November 15 said its security forces safely recovered five of the 12 Iranian guards abducted near the countries' shared border a month ago.

The extremist group Jaish al-Adl had claimed responsibility for the abduction of Iranian security personnel, which included member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

"With concerted efforts of Pakistani law enforcement agencies and armed forces, five abducted Iranian guards have been safely recovered," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Muhammad Faisal said.

The Iranians, including intelligence officers, were abducted near Lulakdan, a village 150 kilometers southeast of Zahedan, the capital of Iran's Sistan-Baluchistan Province.

Faisal said the rescued guards "are in good health, being handed over to Iranian authorities."

He added efforts were being made "to recover the other guards."

Iranian media quoted IRGC Chief General Mohammad Ali Jafari as confirming the return of five of the guards.

Pakistan briefed Tehran about "active efforts" to locate the abducted guards during two visits by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to Islamabad in the past month.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi blamed the kidnapping on "our common enemies unhappy with the existing close, friendly relations between Pakistan and Iran."

Iran's Sistan-Baluchistan Province has long been a flashpoint, with Pakistan-based Baluchi separatists and militants carrying out regular cross-border raids against Iran.

The province has a large, mainly Sunni Muslim ethnic Baluchi community which straddles the border.

Jaish al-Adl, formed in 2012, is a successor to the Sunni extremist group Jundallah (Soldiers of God), which has carried out a spate of attacks on Iranian security forces in recent years in Sistan-Baluchistan.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP
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