Multiple social media videos on Wednesday showed a major military deployment by the Taliban to Islam Qala, a border town close to neighboring Iran, in Herat province.
Dozens of vehicles carrying Taliban forces, along with tanks, ambulances and trucks pulling heavy artillery weapons were filmed heading in convoy toward the border town.
This comes just four days after Saturday’s border skirmish between Taliban and Iranian forces in western Nimroz province.
There has however been no indication by the Taliban on why these forces and equipment have been moved to the border area, or whether the Taliban is expecting further altercations with Iran.
Some Iranian media outlets have reported that a unit of Iran’s special forces has been stationed close to the border.
Video footage, some of which was sent to Amu on Wednesday, showed commercial truck drivers voicing their concerns. They also said they feared another clash between Taliban and Iranian forces.
Taliban in Herat has rejected claims of a possible clash and said the situation is calm. Hazrat Aqa, Taliban’s official in Islam Qala customs office, said the situation at the border town was normal. “There is no issue. Vehicles are moving normally here,” he said.
But one driver in Islam Qala said they had been asked by the Taliban customs authorities on Tuesday to keep their vehicles within the customs office complex. However, they resumed their activities on Wednesday.
Iranian media quoted Iran’s interior minister as saying that the Taliban should justify the presence of their forces near the border so that another clash does not happen.
He said that the issue around Saturday’s clash had been resolved and the situation at the border between the two countries is normal.
Islam Qala is a key border crossing between the two countries in terms of its economic value. A large percentage of goods, as well as fuel, is imported into Afghanistan through this border crossing.
Tensions have flared up from time to time and over the past two years, Iranian and Taliban forces have clashed on four different occasions along the border.