Iran captures Jundallah's leader


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Abdul Malik Rigi, the Emir of Jundallah, is in Iranian custody.

Iranian security forces have captured the wanted leader of a Pakistan-based terror group that operates in the southeastern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan and in neighboring Pakistan.

Abdul Malik Rigi, who is also known as Emir Abdul Malik Baluch, was captured during an operation, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry said in a statement.

The details of Rigi's capture are unclear. According to the Iranian Students News Association, the Intelligence Ministry stated Rigi was captured during an operation in eastern Iran. But PressTV claimed both Rigi and his second in command were captured "on a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan."

Rigi's brother, Abdulhamid Rigi, is currently on death row after being captured by Pakistani security forces in 2009, who then turned him over to Iran. Abdulhamid's death was postponed late last year.

Jundallah is a Baluch terror group that operates in Pakistan's Baluchistan provinces as well as in Sistan-Baluchistan in Iran. The group was founded by Rigi in 2003. He renamed Jundallah the Peoples Resistance Movement of Iran. Jundallah is estimated to have between 1,000 and 2,000 trained fighters.

Jundallah has conducted numerous attacks against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Iranian government. Its most recent high-profile attack took place in the city of Pishin in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan. A suicide bomber killed 28 military officials and civilians, including Brigadier General Nour Ali Shoushtari, the deputy commander for the IRGC's ground forces, and Brigadier Rajab Ali Mohammadzadeh, the IRGC's provincial commander for Sistan-Baluchistan. In a press release on its website, Jundallah also claimed that the commanders of Iranshahr Corps, Sarbaz Corps, the Amir al Mo'menin Brigade were also killed in the attack.

Other attacks include the 2005 ambush on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's motorcade in Sistan-Baluchistan; the 2006 murder of 22 civilians in Tasooki; the 2007 ambush on an IRGC convoy that killed 18 officers in Zahedan; the 2008 kidnapping and execution of 16 Iranian policemen; the 2009 ambush that killed 12 policemen in Saravan; and the 2009 bombing at a mosque in Zahedan that killed 25 people.

The Iranian government accuses the United States, Britain, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan of covertly backing Jundallah as part of an effort to destabilize the regime.

There is another group called Jundallah, which is based in Pakistan. This group has links with al Qaeda. Dr. Arshad Waheed, an al Qaeda commander who was killed in a US airstrike in South Waziristan in March 2008, had close links to Ata-ur-Rehman, the former leader of this other Jundallah organization who was detained by Pakistani security forces. Iran deliberately conflates the two groups and accuses the US of backing the al Qaeda-allied group.



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READER COMMENTS: "Iran captures Jundallah's leader"

Posted by Tyler at February 23, 2010 10:29 AM ET:

Clearly Jundallah is well funded, well trained, and has few qualms about suicide bombings and videotaped executions. This terrorist was a dangerous threat to the Iranian people, not merely the criminal Iranian regime. And his actions gave that criminal regime political cover by which to engage in further acts of brutality and repression against the Iranian people. This is no loss for people who seek a democratic and free Iran.

The Pakistani angle is what I'd be most interested in. Is this related to their newfound efforts against the Afghan Taliban? We know the Quetta Shura uses smuggling routes through Iran that travel through Jundallah territory and is on good terms with other Sunni Baloch separatist groups. And Jundallah's operations are slick enough to suggest they are financed in fashion similar to the Afghan Taliban...opium, ISI, Gulf donations.

Baradar, ever the tactical pragmatist, seems like the kind of guy who would seek out cooperation from Jundallah while free, but then have no qualms about selling him out in prison. If only to buy a day or two worth's of debriefing for Mullah Omar to find a new safehouse.

Posted by captainjohann at February 25, 2010 4:55 AM ET:

This shows the hand of Zardari.He is openly siding with ISI who were supporting Regi under orders of Musharaff/Cheney.Now Zardari is closing in with Iran at the expense of Saudi Arabia which has used pakistan all these years without providing anything in return.

Posted by ArneFufkin at February 26, 2010 12:54 AM ET:

CaptainJohann I generally am delighted with your conspiracy-laden posits but with all due respect your last missive was unintelligible. Richard Cheney has become history's most insidious bogeyman it seems. At least on the internet.

Posted by Agha H Amin at February 26, 2010 3:30 AM ET:

many misconceptions in many minds

Reki is from Reki tribe found in Panjgur district in Pakistan,Dalbandin/Chaghai district in Pakistan,Sarhad district in Iran and in parts of Turbat/Kech district in Pakistan.

For many years the Iranian regime was terrorising Baloch in Iranian Balochistan wit summary executions without trial,staged encounters,discrimination in schools and colleges etc.

The result was Rekis creation of the Jundullah not in 2003 but earlier.

His arrest can be squarely blamed to the strong influence of Iranians in Dubai and UAE.

Suicide bombings of Jundullah were against Iranian army and revolutionary guards notorious for brutal killings of Baloch.My own drivers brother was caught and killed by Iranian border guards near Ridi opposite Pishin in 2002.In revenge his clan laid an ambush and killed two Iranian guards in 2005.

Jundullah does not have ISI support.It is an indigenous movement possibly being supported by americans

Posted by Ibn Siqilli at February 26, 2010 10:26 PM ET:

Jundullah's October attacks killed many civilians. In the past it has also targeted mosques and other civilian targets.

Posted by Vedat The Turk at February 27, 2010 11:37 PM ET:

I dont think that Jundullah still has any US support. Everything points to a joint operation. It has been reported by several Turkish and Iranian sites that he was captured in Pakistan and turned over by the US to the Mullahs in Tehran. Jundullah claimed as much on its site saying that they had been betrayed by the US, Israel & UK. Also British PM Gordon Brown praised the capture (as reported by BBC).