Pakistani security sources tell ABC News that the Iranian and Pakistani governments have launched a crackdown on the Baluchi militant group Jundullah, which ABC News reported has been secretly encouraged and advised by U.S. officials to stage guerrilla attacks inside Iran.
On Wednesday, a contingent of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, acting with what the Pakistani source called "specific intelligence," moved against several Jundullah hideouts in and around the towns of Pishin and Zahedan in Iranian Baluchistan. Ninety members of Jundullah were reported arrested, and weapons caches were seized, some of them containing what the source described as "heavy weapons."
According to the source, the Pakistani military moved against similar Jundullah elements on Thursday morning near the town of Mand, along Pakistan's border with Iran, right across the border from Pishin. A gun battle ensued, during which four Jundullah militants and a Pakistani security officer were killed.THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS
The Pakistani military is reported to have grown increasingly uncomfortable with Jundullah's cross-border raids into Iran and has been trying for several months to push the group to move its activities to Afghanistan, where it also has a presence.
Jundullah, headed by its youthful leader, Abd el Malik Regi, is made up of members of the Baluchi tribe and operates out of the Baluchistan province in Pakistan, just across the border from Iran.
One senior Pakistani military official, speaking on background, told ABC News the government of Pakistan was growing especially concerned that the "well-funded" Jundullah were recruiting hundreds of new militants, turning what was previously a small guerrilla group into a full-fledge "irregular army," which he suspected the U.S. government could rely on in the case of U.S. military operations in Iran.
Alexis Debat is an ABC News consultant.