Taliban, Iran Say Misunderstanding Sparked Brief Border Clashes

Afghanistan’s Taliban and Iran confirmed Wednesday that clashes had broken out between the border security forces of the two countries, but neither side reported any casualties.

In a late-night statement, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said “a misunderstanding at the local level” triggered the conflict near the Afghan border province of Nimruz.

Mujahid said “the situation is now under control with the understanding of both sides.” He added that Taliban leaders have issued the “necessary instructions” to prevent such misunderstandings from happening again.

Iran’s media blamed the Taliban for starting the conflict by opening fire on an Iranian post earlier Wednesday over confusion about the border demarcation.

“The clashes stopped, and Iran is discussing the matter with the Taliban,” the Tasnim News Agency said.

The news agency rejected as false the reports that the Taliban had captured an Iranian border post during the armed conflict.

The Afghanistan-Iran border has active informal crossings that smugglers use for international human and drug trafficking, which is a source of bilateral tensions.

Aid agencies say more than 300,000 Afghans have fled to Iran using these illegal routes since the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August.

Tehran has maintained good relations and close contacts with the new Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Iran is among the few countries, including China, Russia, Pakistan and Turkey, that has kept its embassy open in Kabul after the Islamist group seized control of the war-torn country from the Western-backed former Afghan government three months ago.