Tensions flared between Iran and the Taliban over the weekend as clashes broke out along the border between Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province and Afghanistan’s Nimroz province.
Iranian Deputy Police Chief, Gen. Qassem Rezaei, accusing the Taliban of initiating the attack, said that Iranian border guards inflicted “heavy casualties and serious damage” to the group.
This clash comes on the heels of a warning by Iranian officials including President Ebrahim Raisi to the Taliban, in which they have emphasized the importance of respecting Iran’s water rights to the Hirmand River. Raisi’s recent remarks underscored Iran’s long-standing concerns about water, an issue that has become increasingly relevant in the face of climate change and regional competition.
In the wake of today’s clashes, Ayoub Kurd, the Director General of Transportation for Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province, announced that “due to recent clashes along the Iran-Afghanistan border, all economic exchanges at the Malik border with Afghanistan have been suspended until further notice.”
Amidst the conflict, Afghan Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Motaghi met with Iran’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Affairs, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, to discuss the situation. While the meeting seemed to have taken place before the conflict, Motaghi emphasized the importance of resolving the issue through dialogue and mutual understanding.