– Iran Pakistan-based Ansar al-Forghan, which has links with the outlawed Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), is suspected to have carried out the terrorist attack in Iranian port town of Chabahar on Thursday that killed two policemen and injured nearly 30.
India has a keen interest in Chabahar port, where it is building a special economic zone and providing assistance in managing the first phase of the port as well as expanding the port. It also plans to build railway link from the port to Zahedan, closer to the Afghanistan border. Chabahar port is India’s key gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asia, and it transports foodgrain to Afghanistan via this route. India’s role in the port has received waiver from the US from its sanctions on Iran.
On Thursday, India was quick to condemn the attack. “India strongly condemns today’s despicable terrorist attack in Chabahar, Iran. We express our condolences to the government and the people of Iran and the families of the victims of this attack. We wish speedy recovery to those injured. The perpetrators behind this dastardly attack should be brought to justice expeditiously,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.
Iranian official media reports indicated that Ansar al-Forghan, banned by Iran, was behind the terrorist attack. Experts told ET that the group has links with JeM and is a breakaway faction of Jundullah, based in Balochistan province of Pakistan. The group also has links with Al Nusra front, Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda.
JeM, held responsible by India for the 2001 attack on Parliament, is headed by the UN designated terrorist Maulana Masood Azhar. India is seeking UN Security Council ban against Azhar but China has been holding out, a key irritant in Sino-Indian ties.
Iranian officials said terrorists attacked the police headquarters in Chabahar, located in the southeastern province of Sistan-and-Baluchestan, with an explosives-laden vehicle on Thursday morning. The terrorists, however, failed to reach their target as security forces quickly responded to the situation and prevented them from entering the place, said governor of Sistan-and-Baluchestan province, Ahmad-Ali Mouhebati. The terrorist behind the wheel was killed, said Mohammad Hadi Marashi, deputy governor for security affairs. Iran’s Sistanand-Baluchestan province, which borders Pakistan, has seen several terrorist attacks targeting both civilians and security forces over the years.