Military leaders of Pakistan and Iran agree to work together to stop border attacks by militants

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s and neighboring Iran’s top military leaders have agreed to step up cooperation and intelligence-sharing and take “effective actions” to prevent attacks by separatist militants along their porous border. , Pakistani officials said on Monday.

The deal was reached during a visit by powerful Pakistani army chief General Asim Munir to Tehran over the weekend, officials said. Munir traveled to Tehran for a two-day visit following an upsurge in attacks in the southwestern province of Balochistan, which shares a long border with Afghanistan and Iran.

Pakistan’s relations with Iran have been rocky in recent years due to cross-border attacks by Pakistani militants. Small separatist groups are behind a long-running insurgency calling for independence for oil and gas-rich Balochistan from the central government in Islamabad.

Pakistani anti-Iran militants have also targeted the Iranian border in recent years, increasing friction between the countries.

In a statement, the Pakistani military said Munir met with Iranian army chief of staff General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri and called Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

He said the parties had agreed that terrorism was a common threat. “They are committed to eradicating (the) threat of terrorism in border areas through intelligence sharing and effective actions against terrorist networks, and to exploring avenues to strengthen cooperation in the field of security”, indicates the press release.

The visit also comes as tensions have risen between Pakistani and Afghan Taliban leaders, who have been accused by Islamabad of harboring a key illegal militant group called Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP. The group has grown bolder since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in 2021.

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