Armed clashes occur between Iranian, Afghan border guards Report

Tehran, May 28 : Armed clashes erupted between Iranian and Afghan border guards on the common border, a media report said. The clashes occurred on the border between Iran's southeastern Sistan and Baluchestan Province and Afghanistan's southwestern Nimruz Province on Saturday, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a Tasnim news agency report. According to Tasnim, the two sides used "light and semi-light weapons and artillery" against each other, but no missile has been employed by the Iranian side despite the "false" reports claiming that. No casualties have been announced yet. The report added the reason for the skirmish, which has already ended, is not known yet and the Iranian Embassy in Kabul and Afghanistan's Taliban-run acting Ministry of National Defense have started correspondence and phone calls to investigate the cause of the tension. In addition, officials of the Iranian and Taliban border guards have held a meeting to discuss the issue and determine its cause, it said. According to Tasnim, reports claiming that Iranian forces have targeted Zaranj Airport in Nimruz province are "false" and the clashes have occurred only in the areas around the Iranian Sasuli and Hatam villages and Makaki region in Afghanistan's Kang District. According to Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA), following the eruption of the conflict, Iranian border guards closed Abrisham (Silk) Bridge above the Hirmand River connecting the two countries. The clashes come as tensions between the two neighbors have escalated during the past weeks over Iran's "unpaid" water share from the Hirmand River, known as Helmand in Afghanistan, under a 1973 treaty between Tehran and Kabul that entitles the former to receive 820 million cubic meters of water from the river per year. In remarks on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that his country does not recognize Afghanistan's caretaker Taliban government and insists upon the formation of an inclusive government in the country, according to ISNA. The Taliban government also issued a statement last week, saying Iran's frequent requests for water and "inappropriate" comments on media are "harmful," adding it is committed to the 1973 treaty. /IANS


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