Attacks between Iran and Pakistan with missiles and drones, what is happening and why

On the night between 17 and 18 January 2024 the Pakistan launched attacks with missiles and drones in Iranfor the precision of the Iranian city of Saravan, in the province of Sistan and Baluchistan in the south-east of the country. There are at least 9 victims, including women and children. The attack comes a few days after another Iranian air attack in Pakistani territory, justified by the Tehran government to hit bases of the Sunni militant and separatist group, Jaish al-Adl. In this article we reconstruct the events and explain the reasons for the mutual attacks between Iran and Pakistan.

Iran’s attack on Pakistan

On the border between Iran and Pakistan, in the province of Baluchistan, theIran on 16 January it launched air attacks that Tehran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, had justified due to the presence of bases of the Sunni militant group Jaish al-Adl and which caused the death of some civilians, including two children. These attacks in Pakistan by Iran came almost simultaneously with other attacks launched by the government of Tehran in Syria and Iraq, with one voltage growing in the region which is of concern to the community international. After the attack, Pakistan severed diplomatic relations with Iran, recalled its ambassador from Tehran and denounced the attack, calling it a serious violation of its territorial sovereignty. You then declared that there would be consequences, which in fact did not take long to arrive.

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Pakistan’s response

On the night between 17 and 18 January Pakistan attacked the Iranian city of Saravanin the province Sistan and Baluchistan, in the south-east of the country. The death toll is more than nine people, among whose victims are also included women and children. The attack was justified by the Islamabad government as defence of one’s own national security with the aim of hitting some terrorist bases along the confine of more than 900 km between Iran and Pakistan, in what was described as a Pakistani intelligence operation called “Marg Bar Sarmachar” (whose meaning is precisely “death to the guerrillas”). The Pakistani authorities have assured that they recognize the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic of Iran and that they have carried out attacks aimed at guaranteeing their security and territorial integrity, as according to sources intelligence Pakistani terrorist action was planned in Pakistani territory.

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The reasons for the tension between Iran and Pakistan

Relations between Iran and Pakistan have been tense for some time, in particular due to the presence of separatists Baloch (or Baluchi) in the region of Balochistan (or Balochistan), the main region of Pakistan straddling the two countries and politically divided between Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.

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THE Baloch they are an ethnic minority that has been fighting for more than two decades‘independence of the Balochistan region. According to Iran, Pakistan supports and provides refuge to the insurgents, creating a tense situation and instability on the south-eastern border between the two countries. In recent years, attacks by separatists against both Iranian and Pakistani security forces have increased, with both countries accusing each other of ignoring the plight of militant groups present in the area. Iran, for example, declared that the attack carried out against Pakistan on January 16 targeted the group’s military bases Jaish al-Adl. Jaish al-Adl is a Sunni Islamist groupwhich operates in Balochistan, in what is a majority region Sunni. This group, considered terrorist by both the Iranian and US governments, was founded in 2002 under the name Jundallah and then transformed into Jaish al-Adl in 2012, after the killing of some of its main leaders. Jaish al-Adl is a militant group also named “Iranian popular resistance” and claims its fight to assert the economic, political and cultural rights of the Baloch in Iran. Their goal is theindependence of eastern Sistan in Iran and southwestern Baluchistan in Pakistan.
The one between Iran and Pakistan therefore fits into a situation of increasing tension which worries the international community, which fears aescalation in the Middle East. It should also be remembered that Pakistan is one of the few countries in the region to have nuclear weapons, an element which on the other hand could be a deterrent for the neighbour Iran and which could perhaps curb a possible conflict between the two countries.