This month, four Iranian border guards were freed two months after being kidnapped and allegedly taken into Pakistan by an Iran-based Sunni militant group. In an email interview, Isaac Kfir, a senior researcher at Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism and a visiting assistant professor of law and international relations, explained the state of Iran-Pakistan relations.
WPR: What has been the recent trajectory of the Iran-Pakistan security relationship, particularly regarding their shared border?
Isaac Kfir: Iran and Pakistan work together on some issues and compete on others. The two countries have good cooperation on drug interdiction, as both seek to stem drug smuggling and consumption, which have a disastrous impact on both of them. Iran alone has 2 million heroin addicts, the highest in the world. Pakistan has become a key transit country for drugs; between 1996 and 2011, Pakistani authorities seized an average of 7,200 kilograms of opium per year, making Pakistan one of the top countries for drug interception in the world, along with Iran.