At least two dead in border clash as Taliban, Iran blame each other

At least two people were killed in heavy clashes between Taliban and Iranian forces in the western province of Nimroz on Saturday amidst escalating tensions between the two neighboring countries on the 1973 water treaty.

The clash started between the two sides at around 11 am (Kabul time) on Saturday morning over a wall construction on the border between the two countries, and continued for a few hours, creating further tensions over the future of the two sides’ relations.

Various videos were posted on social media from Taliban armed members who were being deployed to the border areas between the two countries. Other footage showed heavy firing between the two sides.

Taliban’s reaction

Taliban’s defense ministry in a statement on Saturday afternoon blamed Iranian forces for starting the clash in Kang district in Nimroz, saying the firing first started by Iran’s side.

“Negative steps and making excuses for war will not benefit any side,” said the statement.

According to Taliban’s statement, one Iranian border force and a Taliban member were killed and some were wounded. The statement did not provide details about casualties.

Iran’s reaction

Ahmad Reza Radan, commander of a special forces unit of Iran, blamed the Taliban for starting the clash and said, “Taliban forces started firing without considering international laws and neighbourhood.”

“Iranian border forces will strictly respond to any cross-border attempt,” he reiterated. “The de facto authorities in Afghanistan should be accountable for their reckless actions.”

Sources have said that civilians have also been harmed in the clash between Taliban and Iranian forces that continued for at least seven hours.

This is not the first time the two sides have faced clashes in the border areas between Afghanistan and Iran. The clash happened at a time as relations between Taliban and Iran have soared over the 1973 water treaty that allows Iran to use water from Helmand River. The two sides have had exchange of harsh words at many instances over the past two weeks.