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TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Several members of Iran's border-security forces were killed in an ambush near the Pakistani border, state radio has reported.

The report quoted a police commander who said Pakistan had become a "backyard for rebels and drug smugglers" and that Iran could help if Islamabad was not able to secure its side of the boundary.

"A pickup truck moving at Mirjaveh border point [in southeast Iran] carrying special provisions for border outposts in the past day was ambushed by a group of rebels in which a number of our colleagues were martyred," the commander, only identified as Nekuhi, was quoted as saying.

He did not say how many Iranian border police were killed.

"The rebels entered from the Pakistani border and returned there using the same route after committing the inhumane act," the commander added.

Iranian security forces regularly clash with heavily armed drug smugglers and bandits in the southeast border area around Sistan-Baluchistan Province next to Pakistan's border.

"Unfortunately, Pakistan has turned into the backyard of rebels and narcotics smugglers," Nekuhi said, adding that Iran had notified the Pakistani authorities about the incident.

"In the event that Pakistan is not able to control this, they can invite us and we will help them inside Pakistan to encounter and eliminate rebel, hostile and smuggling groups," he added.