The Latest Terrorist Attack In Chabahar Shows That The Iranian-Pakistani Border Still Isn’t Secure

The only way to prevent repeat occurrences is for Iran to finally seal its border with Pakistan and only allow entry via official crossings. That’s of course easier said than done though since this still hasn’t been implemented despite cross-border terrorist attacks having been carried out over the past decade.

The “Jaish-al-Adl” (JAA) terrorist group attacked Iran’s Chabahar in the early hours of Thursday morning in a battle that killed 11 members of the security forces and neutralized 16 of their own militants. It occurred around two weeks after the “Baloch Liberation Army” (BLA) attacked Pakistan’s Gwadar in a comparatively less lethal battle. What’s most interesting about these two attacks is the recent cross-border history of the groups behind them and the connectivity role of the targeted towns.

Iran and Pakistan exchanged strikes in mid-January after accusing the other of sheltering these terrorist groups, which each denied, but then they quickly patched up their problems in a pragmatic move that avoided a potentially uncontrollable cycle of mutual escalations at the worst time possible for both. Observers thought that they’d prioritize securing their border but that obviously didn’t happen as proven by the latest attacks that targeted Gwadar and Chabahar.

The first is the terminal port of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is the flagship project of China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), while the second is the terminal point of the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) that connects India with Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Russia via Iran. On the surface, it therefore looks like Iran is waging a proxy war against CPEC via its alleged hosting of the BLA while Pakistan is waging the same against the NSTC via its alleged hosting of JAA.

The reality isn’t that simple though since Iran and China signed a $400 billion strategic partnership pact in 2021 that’ll reportedly last for the next quarter-century. For that reason, it would be illogical for Iran to wage a proxy war against BRI’s flagship project CPEC or let any third party like India do so from its soil. If there was even the remotest chance that anything of the sort was taking place, then Chinese-Iranian ties wouldn’t be anywhere near as close as they presently are since Beijing simply wouldn’t tolerate that.

The same, however, can’t be said about the suspicion that Pakistan is waging a proxy war against the NSTC via its alleged hosting of JAA. That South Asian state resubordinated itself to American vassalage after April 2022’s post-modern coup against former multipolar Prime Minister Imran Khan, and although US control over it isn’t absolute, Washington still largely controls Islamabad’s foreign policy. Accordingly, there might be some truth to Iranian suspicions that Pakistan hosts JAA as a favor to the US.

The timing of the latest terrorist attack against Chabahar is also concerning since it came just days after Iran’s Israeli nemesis bombed its consulate in Damascus. The self-professed Jewish State doesn’t control JAA nor does it have formal ties with Pakistan, but they share a common US partner whose interests rest in destabilizing the Islamic Republic by proxy. Accordingly, Pakistan might have turned a blind eye to JAA knowing that the group might once again attack Iran at a future time advantageous to US interests.

It’s no secret that Pakistan still thinks that India controls the BLA and is waging a proxy war on CPEC from Iran despite what was mentioned about how Beijing wouldn’t tolerate such subversion from Tehran after their quarter-century-long $400 billion strategic partnership deal in 2021. This lingering perception, which arguably continues to influence policymaking, might therefore have possibly led to Pakistan encouraging those JAA terrorists that are allegedly still on its soil to attack Chabahar after Gwadar.

About last month’s attack against CPEC’s terminal port, that was much more likely connected to Afghan-based BLA members who’ve allied with reportedly Taliban-hosted TTP terrorists there than to any Iranian-based Baloches. The Islamic Republic has an interest in preventing attacks against Pakistan in order to not provide that newly restored American vassal state with the pretext to carry out more cross-border strikes that could be timed to coincide with Israeli escalations like last week’s consulate bombing.

Putting the pieces together, while Iran probably didn’t have anything to do with the latest terrorist attack against Gwadar, Pakistan seems to have at the very least passively facilitated the latest terrorist attack against Chabahar. Although Iran has tried to secure their border since January’s tit-for-tat missile strikes, its security services’ focus right now is on aiding their Resistance Axis allies against Israel, which could have created shortcomings that Pakistani-based JAA terrorists exploited.

Seeing as how the latest terrorist attack in Gwadar preceded Israel’s bombing of the Iranian consulate in Damascus by two weeks, the former could have fueled the latest terrorist attack in Chabahar if Pakistan decided to ramp up its proxy war against the NSTC on the misguided basis that India was responsible. As such, the timing of the latest attack just days after Israel’s escalation was probably coincidental since it couldn’t have been planned so quickly, but the Iranians still know that it pleased Israel and the US.

The only way to prevent repeat occurrences is for Iran to finally seal its border with Pakistan and only allow entry via official crossings. That’s of course easier said than done though since this still hasn’t been implemented despite cross-border terrorist attacks having been carried out over the past decade. With its security services’ present focus being on aiding their Resistance Axis allies against Israel, this problem might regrettably remain unresolved at the growing expense of Iranian national security.

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