TEHRAN, July 28 (UPI) — Iranian border guards will continue their assault on Kurdish militants until Iraqi officials deploy troops to secure the border, an Iranian commander said.
Iranian forces have been fighting the militant Party for Free Life of Kurdistan, or PJAK, for weeks. Tehran said recently it has around 5,000 troops stationed on the northwestern border with Iraq.
An unnamed senior military commander told the official Islamic Republic News Agency that border operations would continue against PJAK until Iraqi or Kurdish forces secure the border.
Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour, a ground forces commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, told state-funded broadcaster Press TV recently that more bilateral cooperation was needed to control Kurdish militancy in the region.
PJAK is considered a close affiliate of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which was blamed for killing Turkish soldiers near the border with Iraq last week.
Hassan Abdullah Hassan, a mayor in a border town in Sulaimaniya province, told the United Nations’ humanitarian news agency IRIN recently that villagers along the border with Iran are paying the price for the conflict.
Iraqi satellite channel al-Sumaria reported Thursday that Baghdad is frustrated with Iran’s actions along the shared northern border.