Iran's official news agency says the president has phoned the Pakistani prime minister to demand "serious action" to free border guards abducted by al-Qaida-affiliated militants that operate in the lawless frontier area.

The Wednesday report by IRNA reports President Hassan Rouhani told Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in a phone call that, following the establishment of a joint commission, "we expected serious actions by the Pakistani authorities to free the hostages."

Five guards were kidnapped by the Jaish al-Adl militant group last month outside Sarbaz, a town near Iran's border with Pakistan. A local official said two days ago that one was killed.