KABUL: The Taliban government has called on Iran to resolve bilateral issues “through diplomatic channels,” an Afghan official said on Monday, after two Iranian border guards and one Taliban fighter were killed after shooting broke out near a border post between the two nations last week.
It was not immediately clear what had provoked the incident, in which several people were also injured, but it came amid tensions between the two countries over water rights to the Helmand River, which flows from Afghanistan into Iran’s arid eastern regions.
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.
Both neighbors face worsening drought exacerbated by climate change.
“We don’t want relations with our neighboring countries to deteriorate,” Hafiz Zia Ahmad, deputy spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Arab News. “Our request to all neighboring countries, including Iran, is to resolve these issues through diplomatic channels.”
He added that the Afghan government “is never in favor of escalation.”
Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 2021, water rights are among a number of issues between the two nations, including previous skirmishes at the border and reports of the mistreatment of Afghan refugees in Iran, which has for decades hosted millions of them.
In a report published on Monday, the state-run IRNA news agency quoted Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi as saying the situation was “calm” on the Afghan-Iranian border.
Gul Mohammed Qutrat, a police spokesman in Nimroz province of Afghanistan, said problems at the border had been addressed.
“Currently, the situation is under control,” he told Arab News. “There is no tension at all at the border.”