After violence broke out near a border post between the two countries last week, killing two Iranian border guards and one Taliban fighter, the Taliban government has urged Iran to resolve bilateral disputes "through diplomatic channels," an Afghan official said on Monday.
On Saturday, gunfire broke out near a border checkpoint separating Iran and Afghanistan, with officials from the two nations blaming one another for firing first.
The event occurred when water rights for the Helmand River, which flows from Afghanistan into Iran's dry eastern provinces, were being contested as the neighbours battle a drought that is only getting worse due to climate change.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned the Taliban earlier this month not to violate Iran’s water rights over their shared Helmand River, as laid out in a bilateral treaty signed in 1973.
“We don’t want relations with our neighbouring countries to deteriorate,” Hafiz Zia Ahmad, deputy spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Arab News. “Our request to all neighbouring countries, including Iran, is to resolve these issues through diplomatic channels.”
He added that the Afghan government “is never in favor of escalation.”
Aside from prior border disputes and allegations of mistreatment of Afghan refugees in Iran, which has long harboured millions of them, water rights are among the problems the two nations have been dealing with since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in 2021.
In a report published on Monday, state-run IRNA news agency quoted Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi as saying that “there is no problem at the present time” and that “everything is calm” at the Afghan-Iranian border.
Image Source: AFP