Iran’s Strikes Against Jaish al-Adl in Pakistan

Flag of Jaish al-Adl
The flag of Jaish al-Adl (Credits: MrPenguin20, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Persian Files ISSN 2975-0598 Volume 20 Issue 4
Author: Silvia Boltuc

Iran’s recent military strikes on Jaish al-Adl bases in Pakistan, following earlier actions in northern Iraq and Syria, have escalated tensions in the region. The strikes resulted in casualties, including the death of two children, prompting strong condemnation from Pakistan.

Jaish al-Adl, a Sunni militant group operating in Iran and Pakistan, has historical links to cross-border militancy. The Iranian government considers the group a terrorist organisation and accuses foreign powers, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United States, of supporting it.

Key Findings

  1. Iranian strikes on Jaish al-Adl bases in Pakistan escalated tensions, resulting in casualties.
  2. Jaish al-Adl, a Sunni militant group, aims to establish an independent Baloch state and opposes the Iranian government.
  3. Alleged links between Jaish al-Adl and other militant groups raise concerns about cross-border militancy.

Iran’s strikes against Jaish al-Adl:
Background Information

Iran launched missile and drone strikes on Jaish al-Adl bases in the Pakistani province of Balochistan, citing attacks on Iranian security forces by the group.

Jaish al-Adl, founded in 2012 by members of Jundallah, opposes the Iranian government, accusing it of discrimination against the Baloch people and fights for independence of Sistan and Baluchistan region. The group’s activities include attacks on security forces, kidnappings, and targeted assassinations.

On February 13th, 2019, the group conducted a suicide bombing targeting a bus carrying Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) personnel, killing 27 people and wounding 13.

In 2023, they carried out an attack on a police station in Zahedan, resulting in the deaths of two police officers. Additionally, a following attack targeted a police station in Rask, located in Sistan and Baluchestan Province, leading to the loss of 11 police officers.


Tehran has consistently claimed that extremists opposed to Iran take refuge in hideouts located in the Pakistani border province of Balochistan, where they plan and carry out acts of terrorism against Iran.

The Baluch people, comprising approximately five million individuals, spread across the provinces of Baluchistan in Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan, have been linked to the formation of various terrorist groups. These groups, including Jundallah, Jaish al-Adl, and Ansar Al-Furqan, have been involved in targeting the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Jaish al-Adl, also known as the Army of Justice, has asserted responsibility for several significant recent attacks on Iranian territory. The focus of the current Iranian operation was the region referred to as Kouh-Sabz (green mountain) in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. This area is recognised as one of the major hubs for Jaish al-Adl.

Iran has actively engaged in counterterrorism efforts, both domestically and regionally. The Middle Eastern country has implemented strict domestic measures to combat terrorism within its borders, which include robust intelligence gathering, surveillance, and law enforcement operations targeting individuals and groups involved in terrorist activities.

The IRGC, which has been established to protect and ensure the existence of the Islamic Republic and its ideals, plays a crucial role in Iran’s counterterrorism strategy. The Quds Force, a special unit within the IRGC, is responsible for extraterritorial operations and has been involved in counterterrorism efforts beyond Iran’s borders, such as in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State.

Considering the geopolitics and regional dynamics, Iran’s military actions in Pakistan, following recent retaliatory strikes targeting the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, indicate a robust response to perceived threats along its borders.

Jaish al-Adl’s activities exacerbate tensions in an already volatile region, posing challenges to stability. Alleged links with other militant groups highlight the potential for cross-border implications, raising concerns about regional security.

Read more | Iran: Implications of Recent Kerman’s Attacks and the Islamic State Regional Resurgence

Risk Assessment

The strikes pose immediate risks, including heightened hostilities between Iran and Pakistan. The death of civilians intensifies the gravity of the situation, increasing the likelihood of diplomatic repercussions. The broader risk involves the potential for Jaish al-Adl’s activities to contribute to regional instability, affecting both security forces and civilians.

Given its geographical location and the presence of volatile regions along its borders, Iran places a strong emphasis on border security. This is particularly relevant in areas like Baluchistan, where the government seeks to prevent the infiltration of terrorists and smuggling activities. Indeed, terrorist attacks aimed at the Islamic Republic often have Iranian border guards as primary targets, making them some of the main victims of such incidents.

Scenarios Analysis

  1. Diplomatic Resolution. Diplomatic channels may be activated to address the crisis, leading to negotiations and de-escalation. International mediation could play a role in facilitating dialogue between Iran and Pakistan.
  2. Escalation. Continued hostilities may lead to further military engagement, with potential spillover effects on regional stability. Increased violence and a widening conflict could involve other nations, exacerbating tensions.
  3. Counterterrorism Cooperation. Regional powers may unite against Jaish al-Adl, engaging in coordinated efforts to counter the group’s activities. Enhanced cooperation could mitigate the threat and contribute to stabilising the region.


The Iranian government has often faced challenges from various extremist groups, particularly those with separatist or anti-government agendas. On certain occasions, collaboration with neighbouring countries has resulted in the development of a shared strategy. An example is the agreement reached with the Iraqi government regarding the relocation of camps housing armed Kurdish separatist groups.

The 959 km border shared by Iran and Pakistan poses control challenges. In response, both nations have collaborated in recent years to establish joint border crossings and a shared rapid reaction force, aiming to enhance security in the region.

The internal instability in Pakistan and the conflicting relations among various power groups within the country contribute to the Islamabad government’s challenge in controlling its borders. This difficulty is evident not only in the case of the border with Iran but also extends to its border with Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s approach to terrorist groups has been a subject of international concern and controversy. While the Pakistani government officially denounces terrorism and has taken steps to combat extremist elements, there have been persistent accusations of a dual policy, where some groups deemed as proxies have received alleged support.

The presence of the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network in Pakistan has been a source of contention. Pakistan has been associated with groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has been accused of orchestrating attacks within India. Overall, there are claims that certain elements within Pakistan offer financial and logistical support to terrorist organisations.

While Iran is engaging in diplomatic efforts, these factors may lead Tehran to view Islamabad’s genuine commitment to countering Sunni terrorist groups with suspicion.

Given the complex nature of the situation, immediate diplomatic efforts are essential to prevent further escalation. Collaborative counterterrorism measures are crucial for regional stability.

For those with an interest in acquiring comprehensive insights into the political and security dynamics of Iran and the Middle East, we encourage you to reach out to our team by sending an email to We are poised to facilitate an assessment of the opportunity for you to obtain a meticulously crafted and specialised report tailored to your intelligence needs.

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