The Iranian missile attacks on Pakistan are only the latest incident of tension along their border.
Pakistan and Iran stand at the verge of a breakdown in diplomatic ties after an Iranian missile attack on Pakistan that killed two children and injured three others on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Pakistan recalled its ambassador from Tehran after denouncing the attack, and barred Iran’s envoy to Islamabad — who is travelling — from returning to Pakistan.
Islamabad accused Iran of violating Pakistani airspace. and Iranian state media said missiles targeted two bases of armed group Jaish al-Adl.
But while the rhetoric from Islamabad points to a growing crisis sparked by the Iranian attacks, the two countries have frequently had to navigate tensions along their 900km-long (559-mile) volatile border.
Here is a recap of a few past instances of violence, some of which have soured the diplomatic relationship between the neighbours:
The Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), which is blacklisted by Iran as a “terror” group, claimed responsibility for a police station attack in the Iranian town of Rask on the southeastern border province of Sistan-Baluchestan, which killed 11 Iranian security personnel. The attack was condemned by Pakistan.
Pakistani military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), released a statement saying armed “terrorists” killed two Pakistani soldiers at a checkpoint in the Singwan area of the Kech district. Pakistan contacted Iranian authorities to thwart attempts by fighters to escape into Iran.
The ISPR announced that attackers from Iran killed four of its border patrol soldiers in the Jalgai sector of Kech district.
Shahbaz Sharif, who was Pakistan’s prime minister at the time, condemned the killing of four security officials along the border with Iran in Balochistan. After the attack in the Chukab sector of Panjgur district, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged Iran to investigate the matter and hold the perpetrators accountable. The Iranian embassy in Islamabad condemned this attack.
Pakistan claimed that a soldier had been killed in cross-border firing from Iran. It blamed “terrorists” in Iran. The attack occurred following the reopening of the border between the two countries for bilateral trade on September 20, following a four-month closure over security concerns.
Iranian soldiers entered Pakistani territory to rescue two intelligence agents that Tehran said had been captured by “terrorists”.
20 April 2019
Pakistan’s former foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, told the media that armed Iran-based “terrorists” from the Raji Aajoi Sangar separatist group attacked passengers on a bus in Balochistan, killing 14 people including 10 navy officers, three air force staffers and one from the coastguard.
6 December 2018
Four policemen were killed and 42 other people were wounded in a suicide car bomb attack on the police headquarters in Iran’s southern port city of Chabahar, Iranian media reported. Iran’s then Foreign Minister Javad Zarif blamed “foreign-backed terrorists” in what was widely interpreted as an accusation at Pakistan. The foreign ministry in Islamabad condemned the attack.
16 October 2018
Twelve Iranian security personnel, including intelligence officers from Iran’s top security force – the Revolutionary Guard , were allegedly kidnapped on the southeastern border with Pakistan. Jaish al-Adl claimed responsibility for this. Pakistani security forces helped Iran recover at least five of the 12 abductees from the armed group.
17 April 2018
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said that three Iranian security personnel were killed by armed fighters in a cross-border attack on a border post in the city of Mirjaveh in Sistan-Baluchestan province.
22 June 2017
Pakistan’s foreign office said that Pakistan’s air force shot down an Iranian drone flying in Pakistan’s Punjgur territory. This was the first time a drone from Iran was shot down by Pakistan.
26 April 2017
Jaish al-Adl claimed responsibility for an attack in Mirjaveh that killed 10 Iranian border guards. Iranian police told state media in a statement that the killings were carried out by long-range guns and “the Pakistani government bears the ultimate responsibility of the attack”.
Jaish al-Adl armed group has been launching attacks against Iranian border guards since at least 2013, during which 14 Iranian forces were killed in an ambush near the border.
In 2014, at least five members of the Iranian security forces were also abducted.
In December 2010, 41 people were killed and 90 others wounded after a suicide attack near a mosque in Chabahar.