Iran, Iraq need to cooperate on PJAK

July 20, 2011 at 11:38 AM
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TEHRAN, July 20 (UPI) -- Iran needs more cooperation with the Iraqi government to control Kurdish militants operating along their shared border, an Iranian commander said.

Iran announced early this month that it sent around 5,000 troops to its northwestern border with Iraq as part of expanding operations against the militant Party for Free Life of Kurdistan, or PJAK.

Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour, a ground forces commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, told state-funded broadcaster Press TV that more bilateral cooperation was needed to control Kurdish militancy in the region.

"There needs to be more cooperation with the Iraqi government to encounter terrorists on the border," he said. "Terrorist groups must be stopped wherever they are."

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.

Military commanders in Iran said several high-ranking PJAK militants were killed during recent clashes with Iranian forces.

"We started our operations against the group a few days ago and we have made great achievements in annihilating their camps along our border," the general was quoted as saying.

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