Taliban captures key Afghan-Iran crossing border

Alongside two vital cross borders with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, this was the third border crossing that the Taliban has seized in the past week.

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An Afghan official, as well as Iranian media, affirmed that the Taliban seized control of a significant Afghan border crossing. According to an Afghan official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the group took control of the Islam Qala crossing point in western Herat province.

The incident was also affirmed by one of the Taliban’s spokespersons, Zabihullah Mujahid. In his message shared through his Twitter account, Mujahid said the Taliban forces entered Islam Qala and were welcomed by its residents. Mujahid also posted a video showing Taliban members riding on the back of trucks in Islam Qala and shooting off into the air to celebrate.

Meanwhile, Iranian media reported that Afghan soldiers in the border area of Islam Qala left their positions and fled to Iran, crossing the border. Last week, over 1000 Afghan security forces reportedly had fled into Tajikistan when the Taliban seized control of the crossing border in this region.

Islam Qala is known as a major transit route between Afghanistan and Iran, which is located around 120 kilometers west of the city of Herat, the provincial capital.

On the other hand, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Saeed Khatibzadeh, told reporters that the crossing border with Afghanistan is in full security. Stating that several Afghan workers crossed the border into Iran, the spokesperson said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran will take the necessary measures in accordance with the laws and regulations and in line with border agreements with Afghanistan and within the framework of good neighborliness.”

The Taliban has intensified its military offensiveness as American troops are to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan. The last incident came following US President Joe Biden announcing that the US withdrawal would be completed on August 31. Last Tuesday, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) stated that 90% of the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan is complete.

Currently, the Taliban has control of areas bordering five countries: Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, China, and Pakistan. At the same time, it is estimated that the group holds more than a third of all 421 districts in the country.

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