NDTV Details: Who’s Jaish Al-Adl, Focus Of Iran’s Assault In Pakistan

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Iran Accused by Pakistan of an Unprecedented Airstrike

Terrorist Group Jaish al-Adl In The Spotlight

The ‘Jaish al-Adl’ terrorist organization surfaced into the news today as Pakistan declared Iran responsible for an aerial attack on its territory, which resulted in the death of two children. Iran refrained from making any official statement, however, state-run Nour News agency reportedly stated the attack successfully destroyed the Jaish al-Adl headquarters in Pakistan, as detailed by our sources from Reader Wall.

Understanding Jaish al-Adl

Mainly operating in Iran’s southeast region bordering Pakistan, Jaish al-Adl, a Sunni Salafi group formed in 2012, made news for taking responsibility for the attack that led to the execution of 14 Iranian guards in 2013. The attack, according to the group, was in response to the ‘violent crimes’ committed by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Crops in Syria, and the oppression of Sunnis in Iran. The group, led presently by Salahuddin Farooqui, fights for the independence and rights of Sistan and Baluchistan residents in Iran.

As per multiple reports, Jaish al-Adl was established by Jundallah members, a Sunni group that faced major setbacks after Iran arrested and executed its leader, Abdolmalek Rigi, in 2010.

Jaish al-Adl Attacks

The extremist organization has been notable for its attacks on Iran’s border guards in the Sistan and Baluchistan regions since its inception. Last year, a police station attack left two Iranian police officers deceased, and four attackers were also killed. Even more recently, on the 15th of December, 11 police personnel lost their lives during another police station attack by the group.

Reports suggest a working relationship between Jaish al-Adl and Kurdish separatist factions in Iran. Formerly, Iranian state media accused Saudia Arabia and the United States of backing the group, but both countries have labelled it a terrorist organization, with the US stating that it primarily targets Iranian officials, civilians and security personnel with assassinations, bombings and kidnappings.

How Jaish al-Adl Functions

Largely, attacks launched by Jaish al-Adl are raids on the Iran-Pakistan border, maintaining Pakistan as a rear base, causing strained relations between the two countries. The group’s operatives are recognized for their guerrilla tactic usage, utilizing small firearms and rocket launchers for targeting border defense posts and military convoys.

It’s notable that the terrorist group promotes its operations heavily online with a level of discipline, mobility, understanding of the terrain, innovation and logistical support that makes them one of the deadliest Baluch rebel groups, according to a report obtained by Reader Wall.

The Bigger Picture

The assault on Pakistani territory comes soon after Iran’s missile strikes against what they label as ‘anti-Iranian terrorist groups’ in Syria and Iraq. The Sunni opposition in Syria’s civil war and Kurdish rebels in Iraq are known to be supported by Jaish al-Adl, the Pakistan-based group. The strike on Iraq, however, was claimed by Iran to have targeted Israel’s intelligence services, but Iraq labeled it as an infringement on its sovereignty.

In the broader context, the attack on Pakistan’s territory reinforces the ongoing crises throughout the West Asian region. There is an ongoing battle in Gaza led by Israel, and commercial vessels in the Red Sea are under attack by Yemen’s pro-Palestinian Huthi rebels.

Pakistan Reacts

Pakistan responded to the attack by categorizing it as ‘completely unacceptable’ and ‘unprovoked,’ taking solid diplomatic steps such as expelling the Iranian Ambassador and recalling their envoy from Tehran. Despite the existence of several communication channels between Pakistan and Iran, Pakistan’s foreign ministry voiced its concerns over such unilateral actions.

The attack’s timing aligns with Pakistan’s preparation for national elections and its temporary government, leading Michael Kugelman, director of the South Asia Institute based in Washington DC, to caution about the severity of this strike. According to him, it brings the fragile relationship between Pakistan and Iran to a serious crisis point.

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