If we’re not going to get serious about confronting Iranian meddling with the Taliban, it looks as though the Pakistanis will have to do it. Not that they have much choice, either, as apparently the Revolutionary Guard has begun to infiltrate across the border with Pakistan:
Pakistani police say they have arrested 11 Iranian Revolutionary Guards on suspicion of illegally entering the country.
The 11 officers were taken into custody in Mashkel, close to the countries’ border in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, police officer Dadur Raman said. He said officers were interrogating the men and had seized two vehicles.
Another security official said the guards had no travel documents.
“We need to probe that,” said Murtaza Baig, a spokesman for the paramilitary border force.
Ties between Pakistan and Iran have been strained since an Oct. 18 suicide attack killed 15 members of the powerful Revolutionary Guard, including five senior commanders, and at least 27 others in the town of Pishin on the Iranian side of the border.
Iranians blamed the suicide-bomb attack that killed dozens of senior IRG officers on Sunni radicals allegedly backed by Pakistan. Perhaps that’s why Tehran sent IRG officers into Pakistan, but the simpler explanation is that the Iranians have played footsie with the Taliban to keep the US, NATO, and Pakistan off balance. They’re not ideologically committed to them; they’re just a tool that Iran uses against the coalition, not unlike how we used them against the Soviets twenty years ago.
It will be interesting to see Iran’s reaction to the arrest. Will they apologize, or will they escalate by either disavowing any knowledge of their existence or claiming it to be a false-flag provocation, a la the Nazis on the Polish border 70 years ago? If it’s on the level, how many IRG infiltrators has Pakistan missed?