Pakistan on Thursday said it conducted air strikes against “terrorist hideouts” in Iran, days after Iran carried out missile and drone strikes in its border province of Balochistan against the Jaish al-Adl group.
“A number of terrorists” were killed during the intelligence-based operation codenamed “Marg Bar Sarmachar”, Islamabad said, with media reports claiming that the Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) was the target of Pakistan’s strikes.
Iranian media said several missiles hit a village in the Sistan-Baluchestan province that borders Pakistan, killing at least nine people.
Jaish al-Adl (JaA), a Sunni Salafi organisation that operates in southeastern Iran and the western Pakistani province of Balochistan, has been launching attacks against Iranian border guards since 2013. JaA, which is blacklisted by Iran as a terrorist group, was formed in 2012 and wants the independence of Sistan and Baluchistan province in Iran.
On the other hand, the Baloch Liberation Front seeks independence for Pakistan’s western province of Balochistan. They are among the insurgents who have often launched attacks in parts of Pakistan.
Iran and Pakistan have had rocky ties in the past, but the latest air strikes are the highest-profile cross-border intrusion in recent years.
Here is how the Iran-Pakistan conflict has escalated in the past decade:
2013: Jaish al-Adl claimed responsibility for an attack that killed 14 Iranian guards in 2013.
2017: Jaish al-Adl killed 10 Iranian Border Guards in April.
2017: Iranian drone shot down by Pakistan in June.
2018: JaA kidnapped 12 Iranian Security Personnel in October.
2018: Four Iranian policemen were killed in a suicide car bomb attack in December.
2019: Pakistan claimed Iran-based terrorists killed as many as 14 people in Balochistan in April.
2021: Pakistan said that a soldier was killed in a cross-border firing from Iran in September.
2023: Pakistan said that attackers from Iran killed four of its soldiers in April.
2023: JaA claimed an attack that killed 11 Iranian Security Personnel in December.
2024: Iran struck two bases of Jaish al-Adl in Pakistan on January 16, an attack that Islamabad claimed killed two children.
2024: Pakistan carried out airstrikes against BLF in Iran on January 18 with Iranian media claiming it killed nine people.
(With agency inputs)