Pakistan launched missile strikes into Iran, resulting in nine casualties, in retaliation for Iran’s strikes in Pakistan on Tuesday. Pakistan claimed to target “terrorist hideouts” in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province. Iran condemned the attack, stating that the victims included three women, two men, and four children who were not Iranian. While expressing commitment to good neighborly relations, Iran urged Pakistan to prevent the establishment of “bases and armed terrorist groups” on its soil.
The reciprocal attacks occurred amid heightened tensions in the Middle East, with conflicts involving Israel, Hamas in Gaza, Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Iran-backed groups targeting US forces in Iraq and Syria. Pakistan’s strikes marked the first external land attack on Iran since the 1980s. Pakistan justified its actions, citing credible intelligence of impending large-scale terrorist activities. The targeted groups, Balochistan Liberation Army and Balochistan Liberation Front, are involved in a long-standing struggle for autonomy in Balochistan, southwestern Pakistan.
Following the strikes, both countries emphasised their shared concerns about the lawless border area, characterised by drug smuggling and active militant Baloch groups. Despite the risk of escalation, some experts see the opportunity for de-escalation, while others suggest domestic pressure influenced Pakistan’s response. China, Turkey, and the Taliban government in Afghanistan called for restraint and dialogue. Iran’s recent strikes in Iraq, Syria, and Pakistan have raised concerns, with some attributing them to the broader dynamics and Iran’s reaction to recent attacks on its soil.