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Iran tells citizens to leave Afghan cities amid heightened security risks

Afghan security personnel and Afghan militia fighting against Taliban, stand guard in Enjil district of Herat province on July 30, 2021. (AFP photo)

The Iranian embassy in Afghanistan has issued an urgent warning calling on citizens to immediately leave cities outside the capital Kabul amid deteriorating security situation in the country.

“It is recommended to the nationals of the Islamic Republic of Iran who live or do business in Afghan districts and cities other than the city of Kabul to immediately leave the Afghan territory,” read the statement that was published on Sunday by the official IRNA news agency.

Iranians travel to Afghanistan mostly for business purposes as the country relies for a bulk of its imports needs on its western neighbor.

However, security in the country has deteriorated amid a renewed insurgency by the Taliban group.

Iranian customs office IRICA has already tightened restrictions on border crossings with Afghanistan although trade has been flowing into the country mainly through trucks commissioned by Afghan businesses.

The Iranian embassy statement warned against any unnecessary trips by Iranians to Afghanistan until a further notice, saying security risks in the country have increased.

It said only round trips to the capital Kabul for a short stay could be permitted and processed by the Iranian embassy in Afghanistan.

The warning came hours after a main airport in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar suspended its flights over alleged rocket attacks by the Taliban.

It also comes amid intensified clashes between the Taliban and security forces in areas near the western city of Herat where Iranian businesses have a larger presence compared to other regions in the country.

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