Iran’s airstrikes on Jaish al-Adl in Pakistan escalate tensions, sparking a diplomatic crisis. The unprecedented move follows similar strikes in Iraq and Syria, intensifying regional instability and diplomatic challenges.
New Delhi, January 17, 2024 – In a bold and unexpected move, Iran launched airstrikes on the bases of the militant group Jaish al-Adl in Pakistan, sparking a diplomatic crisis between the two neighboring nations. The attack comes in the wake of Iranian strikes on Iraq and Syria, following a dual suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State.
The Pakistani government alleges that the airstrike, which resulted in the loss of two children’s lives and injuries to three others, was an “illegal” violation of its airspace. Pakistan’s foreign ministry summoned Tehran’s top diplomat in Islamabad to express vehement protest, emphasizing the unprovoked nature of the attack.
Iran, through its state-run IRNA news agency and state television, claimed that missiles and drones were used in the strikes, attributing the attack to its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. However, confusion ensued as Iranian state media reports on the incident disappeared shortly after the announcement. Iran specified that the target was Jaish al-Adl, a Sunni militant group primarily operating in Pakistan and known for its history of bombings and abductions of Iranian border police.
The situation further escalated with Pakistan strongly condemning the violation of its sovereignty, deeming it “completely unacceptable” and warning of potential serious consequences. Tensions between Tehran and Islamabad have often involved accusations of supporting militants operating from each other’s territories, making direct engagement by official forces a rare occurrence.
Pakistan expressed heightened concern over the airstrike, emphasizing its illegality despite established communication channels between the two nations. The Pakistani foreign ministry stated, “Such unilateral acts are not in conformity with good neighborly relations and can seriously undermine bilateral trust and confidence.”
This incident follows similar Iranian strikes in Iraq and Syria, where Iran targeted what it claimed were Israeli “spy headquarters” in Irbil, Iraq, and locations associated with the Islamic State in northern Syria. The strikes, occurring amid heightened regional tensions, were a response to the Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for two suicide bombings earlier in the month.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched missiles at IS positions in Syria’s Idlib province and the Kurdish region in northern Iraq, alleging a Mossad center hit in Irbil. Iraq, in response, has recalled its ambassador from Tehran for consultations, labeling the Iranian attack a “blatant violation” of Iraq’s sovereignty and a threat to regional security. The situation remains tense as diplomatic relations strain between the affected nations.