Pakistan has rescued four Iranian soldiers being held captive by a militant group in the country’s restive southwest, the military said in a statement Thursday, March 21.
The rescue took place in Chaghi district of Balochistan province, near the Afghan border, the statement said.
“Terrorists of a proscribed organization were reported to have entered Pakistan from [the] Afghanistan side along with abducted Iranian soldiers,” it said.
“After exchange of fire, four Iranian soldiers [were] recovered,” it continued.
The statement said the soldiers were being handed over to Iranian authorities, though it did not say when. It also did not say what date the rescue took place, or name the group holding the soldiers.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qassemi said the four were part of a group of 12 Iranian security personnel who were abducted by the Sunni jihadist group Jaish al-Asl near the border in October.
Five of them were later released and handed back to Iran by Islamabad.
Relations between Pakistan and Iran recently suffered another blow after Tehran said a Pakistani suicide bomber was behind a February 13 attack that killed 27 Revolutionary Guards in its volatile southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan.
Jaish al-Adl (or Army of Justice), which Tehran says operates mostly out of bases in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the blast.
IRGC commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari has accused Pakistan’s army and intelligence agency of sheltering the jihadists, an allegation Islamabad denies.
With reporting from AFP