Taliban, Iran Say Misunderstanding Sparked Brief Border Clashes

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

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Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement late at night that “a misunderstanding at the local level” sparked conflict near the Afghan border province of Nimruz.

“The situation is now under control with the understanding of both sides,” Mujahid said, adding that Taliban leaders have issued “necessary instructions” to prevent such misunderstandings from recurring.

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

“The conflict has stopped and Iran is discussing the matter with the Taliban,” Tasnim news agency said.

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

There are active informal crossings along the Afghanistan-Iran border that smugglers use for international human and drug trafficking, a source of bilateral tensions.

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

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

Iran is one of the few countries, including China, Russia, Pakistan and Turkey, to keep 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.

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