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Iran borders secure amid reports of Taliban seizure of key crossing with Afghanistan: Foreign Ministry

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has affirmed that the country’s border areas are in full security amid reports about the Taliban’s capturing of a key district in western Afghanistan that includes an important border crossing with Iran.

“Borders of the Islamic Republic of Iran are in full tranquility and security due to the zealous border guards of our country, and there is no insecurity on our country’s border with Afghanistan,” Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Friday.

Given clashes in Islam Qala and in Sheikh Abu Nasr Farahi crossings inside Afghanistan’s territory, a number of Afghan workers came to Iran, he added.

“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,” Khatibzadeh said.

In a statement on Thursday, the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA) urged businesses not to send export shipments to two main border crossings with Afghanistan after reports showed that Taliban insurgents had occupied facilities on the other side of the border.

IRICA spokesman Rouhollah Latifi said trade had been halted through Dogharoun and Mahirood border crossings located along Iran’s eastern border with Afghanistan.

The Taliban militant group said it will try to shortly put back into operation the Islam Qala border crossing in Herat province.

Islam Qala is the second key border crossing the Taliban have captured since they launched a sweeping offensive in early May.

Deputy chief of the Iranian Army Ground Force’s Operations Brigadier General Farhad Arianfar said on Friday that full security is preserved at Iran’s eastern borders.

“With the clever presence and efforts of the Iranian Ground Force in hundreds of kilometers along the eastern borders, as well as the efforts of zealous border guards in the border areas with Sistan and Baluchestan Province and coordination with the dear forces of the IRGC, we closely monitor the slightest movements near the borders and will not allow the slightest illegal motion through these borders,” he said.

Afghan government demands return of border guards: Informed source

The Afghan government has demanded that Iran make the necessary preparations for the return of the country’s border guards to Kabul which was accepted by Tehran, Nour News on Friday quoted an informed source at the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces as saying.

“Given its humanitarian approaches, Iran accepted the request and is making preparations for a direct flight to repatriate the [Afghan] border guards,” the source added.

Iran has repeatedly voiced its support for measures aimed at establishing peace in Afghanistan.

Amid the escalation of fighting in Afghanistan, Tehran hosted on Wednesday and Thursday four delegations, including representatives of the Afghan government and parliament, the Taliban group and prominent figures supporting the Republic system in the war-torn country.

The Afghan government’s delegation was headed by former Vice President Yunus Qanuni, and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the head of Taliban’s political office in Qatar, led the Taliban delegation to Tehran.

Over the last week, the Taliban have overrun areas bordering five countries – Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, China and Pakistan – amid the United States’ withdrawal of its forces from the country to end its 20-year military intervention.

According to Russia, the Taliban currently control more than two-thirds of the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Moscow has urged all sides of the conflict to show restraint.

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