Iranian border guards clash with Afghan Taliban

Clashes broke out on Sunday between Iranian border guards and Taliban forces, officials said, with the Afghan side confirming that one of their border guards was killed and another injured.

Both sides accused the other of opening fire first.

“There was a clash between Islamic Republic of Iran border guards and Taliban forces,” Meysam Barazandeh, governor of Iran’s Hirmand County, was quoted by Fars news agency as saying.

He added that “the conflict was brief and ended”.

Fars reported that clashes took place on the Iranian side of the border, in the Shaghalak region of the country of Hirmand, in the southeastern province of Sistan-Balochistan.

“A border violation by the Taliban took place today,” Barazandeh said, adding that “our forces gave the necessary response,” and that there were “no casualties” on the Iranian side. .

Iran’s Tasnim news agency said Taliban forces fired on some houses in the town of Dust Mohammad, which was followed by an exchange of fire “for several minutes”.

A statement issued by the information center of the Afghan province of Nimroz accused Iranian border guards of being responsible for the incident.

“Iranian border forces fired on a patrol of our border forces in Kang district of Nimroz province,” the statement said.

“After that, they (the Iranian forces) fired into the area with light and heavy weapons. During this shooting, a member of our border forces was martyred and another injured,” he added.

Last month, Iran’s Foreign Ministry reported the death of an Iranian border guard in an “incident” at a border crossing with Afghanistan, also in Sistan-Balochistan.

Iran, like many other countries, has so far failed to recognize the new government formed by the Taliban after it seized power amid a hasty withdrawal of US-led foreign forces in August 2021. .

While Iran insists the Taliban form an inclusive administration, the Islamist movement has formed an all-male cabinet made up entirely of members of the group, and almost exclusively ethnic Pashtuns.

Water rights issues have also increased tensions between neighbours.

In January, demonstrators from Sistan and Balochistan gathered at a border crossing to protest the water from the Helmand River.

Tehran has hosted millions of Afghan refugees for decades, but new arrivals have entered the country since the Taliban returned to power.

Iran has long had tense relations with the Taliban, which attacked Tehran’s consulate in the northern Afghan town of Mazar-i-Sharif in 1998, killing 10 diplomats and a journalist.

The Taliban said the raid was carried out by a rebel force acting against orders.