September 24, 2023

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Taliban and Iran exchanged heavy gunfire Saturday on the Islamic Republic’s border with Afghanistan, killing and wounding troops whereas sharply escalating rising tensions between the 2 international locations amid a dispute over water rights.

Iran’s state-run IRNA information company quoted the nation’s deputy police chief, Gen. Qassem Rezaei, accusing the Taliban of opening fireplace first Saturday morning on the border of Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province and the Afghan province of Nimroz. IRNA stated Iran inflicted “heavy casualties and critical harm.”

From the Taliban’s view, Afghan Inside Ministry spokesman Abdul Nafi Takor accused Iran of taking pictures first. Takor stated the firefight killed two individuals, one from every nation, and wounded others. He described the state of affairs as now being underneath management.

IRNA, quoting Iranian police, stated two border guards had been killed. Nonetheless, that quantity could also be increased. The semiofficial, English-language newspaper Tehran Instances stated the preventing killed three Iranian border guards. IRNA stated the Milak border crossing with Afghanistan, a serious commerce route, was closed till additional discover over the gunfight.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers dialogue to be an inexpensive approach for any drawback,” Afghan Protection Ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khawarazmi stated in a press release. “Making excuses for struggle and destructive actions will not be within the curiosity of any of the events.”

The advocacy group HalVash, which studies on points affecting the Baluch individuals within the predominately Sunni province of Sistan and Baluchestan, quoted residents within the space saying the preventing happened close to the Kang district of Nimroz. It stated some individuals within the space had fled the violence.

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Movies posted on-line, purportedly from the realm, included the crackle of machine gun fireplace within the distance. HalVash later posted a picture of what seemed to be the stays of a mortar spherical, saying that “heavy weapons and mortars are getting used.”

Later movies from HalVash purported to indicate Iranian forces firing a mortar, in addition to Taliban troops firing American-made machine weapons at an Iranian border put up. Different Taliban fighters drove armored autos probably left behind by NATO forces.

Iran vowed not let the Taliban assault stand.

“The border forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran will decisively reply to any border trespassing and aggression, and the present authorities of Afghanistan should be held accountable for his or her unmeasured and opposite actions to worldwide rules,” IRNA quoted Iran’s police chief, Gen. Ahmadreza Radan, as saying.

The conflict comes as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi earlier this month warned the Taliban to not violate Iran’s water rights to the Helmand River. Raisi’s remarks represented a number of the strongest but over the long-running issues about water in Iran.

Drought has been an issue in Iran for some 30 years, however has worsened over the previous decade, based on the U.N.’s Meals and Agriculture Group. The Iran Meteorological Group says that an estimated 97% of the nation now faces some stage of drought.

The Taliban seized Afghanistan in August 2021 as U.S. and NATO troops had been within the closing weeks of their pullout from the nation after 20 years of struggle. Within the time since, Afghanistan has turn into essentially the most repressive on the earth for girls and women, depriving them of nearly all their fundamental rights, based on the U.N. Starvation stays endemic.

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Whereas circuitously accepting the Taliban authorities, Iran has maintained relations with Afghanistan’s new rulers. Tehran additionally has referred to as on the Taliban to permit ladies and women to go to high school.

Earlier on Saturday, the Taliban’s Appearing Overseas Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met with an Iranian envoy to Afghanistan to debate the Helmand River water rights, based on tweets from Afghan Overseas Ministry official Zia Ahmad. IRNA acknowledged the assembly, saying “that points between the 2 international locations can be higher resolved by dialogue.”

However tensions have in any other case been rising. One other video posted on-line in current days purportedly confirmed a standoff with Iranian forces and the Taliban as Iranian development employees tried to strengthen the border between the 2 international locations.

In current days, pro-Taliban accounts on-line even have been sharing a video with a tune calling on the appearing protection minister, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, to face as much as Iran. Mullah Yaqoob is the son of Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Taliban’s late founder and first supreme chief.

“We’re a authorities, we have now energy,” the tune goes. “Our chief Mullah Yaqoob will stand in opposition to Iran or we’re not the republic’s authorities. We’re not slaves, our chief Mullah Yaqoob will stand in opposition to Iran.”


Related Press writers Rahim Faiez in Islamabad and Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.