Following skirmishes between Iranian border guards and Taliban forces, the main border crossing between Iran and Afghanistan has been closed.
Taliban authorities in the Islam Qala district of western Afghanistan’s Herat province were paving a road in the border zone with Iran, which was obstructed by Iranian border guards, according to official sources.
It was confirmed that local authorities in Herat had attempted to construct a road in the Islam Qala-Dogharoun border area “without prior coordination” with the Iranian side, Iranian president’s special envoy for Afghanistan Hassan Kazemi Qommi issued in a statement.
Iranian border guards prevented the move, which Qommi said breached the border between the two countries.
Furthermore, a vehicle belonging to Iranian forces had crossed over to the Afghan side and was seized by local officials, Mawlawi Homayoun Hemmat, the deputy commissioner of the Islam Qala district, told a private Afghan broadcaster.
Fearing an escalation of tensions, both sides have put their border forces on high alert.
Tehran has raised the issue with the Taliban’s interior and defense ministries, Qommi said, stressing that the construction work should be halted and the issue be resolved within the framework of the joint border commission.
A largely porous 900-km border is shared between Iran and Afghanistan. The crossing used most extensively for travel and trade between the two countries is the Islam Qala-Dogharoun border crossing, connecting Afghanistan’s Herat with Iran’s Mashhad province.
Since the Taliban’s takeover in Kabul last August, this is the second time that the two sides have engaged in border skirmishes.