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Jundullah Attack on Iranian Revolutionary Guards: The Pakistan Connection

By       Message Abdus Sattar Ghazali     Permalink
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Pakistan's leading English newspaper Dawn has indicated that Oct. 15 suicide attack in the Iranian border town of Pishin that killed 42 people, including six commanders of Iranian Revolutionary Guards, may be in retaliation of Pakistan Army's current operation in South Waziristan. In an editorial -- Pak-Iran Tensions - the paper said what is far more likely to be occurring is that Jundullah (which claimed responsibility for the attack) is benefiting from the Al Qaeda--anti-Shia nexus of militancy operating inside Pakistan in order to foment tensions between Pakistan and Iran. The paper also pointed out that in the shadowy world of militancy very little is known for certain, but it does seem likely that Jundullah exists in some form in Balochistan and perhaps even FATA.

This is not the first time that Jundullah has killed Iranian Revolutionary Guards. In February 2007, Jundullah took credit for an attack that killed at least 11 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard riding on a bus in the Iranian city of Zahedan. For Pakistan, which has hostile relations with two of its three neighbors - Afghanistan and India - the Jundullah attack could not have come at a worse time.

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Iranian officials have accused Pakistan, Britain and the United States of aiding the group, alleged to be behind the suicide bombing in the town of Pisheen in Sistan-Balochistan province. Hours after the attack President Ahmadinejad alleged the assault was plotted in Pakistan, which borders the restive province. 'We became aware that some of agents in Pakistan were cooperating with the main elements of today's terrorist incident and we consider it to be our right to demand the rendition of these criminals,' Ahmadinejad said.

For its part, the Pakistani government has strenuously denied any link to Jundullah and promised to extend all cooperation possible to the Iranian authorities.

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Iran's Intelligence Minister Heyder Moslehi insisted that according to the evidence, the Pakistan intelligence service is linked to Jundullah while the head of the Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, demanded that Pakistan hand over Jundallah leader Abdolmalek Rigi.

Pakistan handed over to Iran last year 18 wanted persons - including Abdel Hamid Rigi, a brother of Jundullah's chief Abdel Malik Rigi - who were involved in the kidnapping of 17 Iranian port workers. The workers were freed by Pakistani security forces after a gun battle with the kidnappers. Abdel Hamid Rigi was executed by the Iranian authorities in July last.

Jundullah's origin and structure remain murky. Some claim it might be an offshoot of Baluchi Autonomist Movement, which was created and supported by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein along with other terrorist groups like Mujahideen-e Khalq during Iran-Iraq war. Other reports indicate that Jundullah, also known as the Popular Resistance Movement of Iran, was founded in 2002 to defend the Baluchi minority in the poor, remote and lawless region of south-east Iran. It is currently led by Abdel Malik Rigi. On April 2, 2007, Rigi appeared on the Persian service of Voice of America, the official broadcasting service of the United States government, which identified Rigi as "the leader of popular Iranian resistance movement."

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The Secret War Against Iran

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 

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