16:43 GMT +315 December 2018
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    Iranian soldiers keep watch at a drug trafficking patrol post in Milak, southeastern Iran, near the Afghan border, on July 19, 2011

    Iran in Talks With Pakistan to Free Kidnapped Border Guards – Revolution Corps

    © AFP 2018 / Atta Kenare
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Iran has been in talks with a Pakistani militant group through officials in Islamabad to secure the release of five Iranian border guards kidnapped last month, an Iranian general said.

    Gen. Ramezan Sharif of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps said militants had agreed to release the prisoners and would start with freeing five of them, according to the Tasnim news agency, however, it did not name the group Tehran was negotiating with.

    Later in the day, Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that Islamabad has secured the release of five Iranian guards kidnapped while patrolling the common border.

    READ MORE: Islamist Militants Claim Responsibility for Kidnapping Iranian Border Troops

    The statement came hours after the Iranian military said it was in Islamabad-aided talks with Pakistani terrorists who have been holding border guards captive since mid-October. Their reported number varies from 12 to 14.

    "With concerted efforts of the Pakistani LEAs [Law Enforcement Agencies] and armed forces, 5 abducted Iranian guards have been safely recovered," the spokesman tweeted.

    Faisal said they were being handed over to Iranian authorities in good health. Efforts are underway to free the other officers "under vigilance of the military leadership," he added.

    In mid-October, fourteen Iranians were kidnapped while patrolling the eastern border with Pakistan. A Sunni jihadist group later claimed to have captured 10 officers in retaliation for what it called Iran's oppression of the Muslim sect in the Sistan and Baluchestan region.

    Iranian border guards frequently come under attack from across the border with Pakistan and Afghanistan, while ethnic and sectarian infighting has been a common occurrence in Sistan and Baluchestan, populated by several minority groups.

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    Tags:
    kidnapping, military, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Ramazan Sharif, Iran, Pakistan
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