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Pakistan Says Searching For 14 Abducted Iranian Border Guards

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has told his Iranian counterpart that security forces are searching for 14 Iranian border guards who Tehran says were abducted by militants this week.

Qureshi gave this assurance to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a phone call, the Pakistani ministry said on October 18.

"Qureshi expressed his serious concern over the incident," Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Faisal said at a weekly news briefing in Islamabad.

"Qureshi said that such incidents are the handiwork of our common enemies unhappy with the existing close friendly relations between Pakistan and Iran," Faisal said.

Iranian media reported that two of those abducted were members of an elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps intelligence unit. The rest reportedly included seven volunteers in the Basij militia, as well as regular Iranian border guards.

The two ministers also discussed an exchange of fire between Afghan and Pakistani security forces on the Chaman border, Faisal said.

Faisal said top army generals of Pakistan and Iran are in close contact to coordinate their search efforts for the missing guards. Those efforts include enhanced air surveillance and troop deployment in the border area where the incident took place.

Tehran says the 14 members of its border force were seized on October 16 near the border with Pakistan.

No one has claimed responsibility, but Iranian media has blamed the abduction on Jaish al-Adl, an Al-Qaeda-linked group.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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