Clashes between Iranian and Afghan forces. What is the reason?

Kabul, Afghanistan (Photo by Shutterstock).

There were clashes between Iranian and Afghan forces near the Iranian-Afghanistan border on Wednesday (1 December 2021), according to news reports. These clashes have not led to any casualties and have been described as a "misunderstanding".

Iran is one of the few countries that has retained a diplomatic presence in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, despite the religious differences between the two countries.

Iran's population is majority Shiite but Sunni minorities live predominantly in the areas near the Afghan border. The Sunnis have long complained about discrimination by Iranian authorities.

The Hazaras in Afghanistan, who are minority Shiites, have long complained of discrimination by the Sunni majority. Indeed for that reason some Hazaras live in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Iran shares a 900-kilometre border with Afghanistan and hosts some 3.6 million Afghan refugees. Since the Taliban's takeover in August, hundreds of thousands of Afghan civilians have escaped into neighbouring Iran using informal border crossings, according to Al Monitor.

This is how Reuters reported the incident.

Clashes over Iran-Afghanistan's 'border misunderstanding' ended

DUBAI, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Iran's border forces and Afghanistan's Taliban ended clashes over a "border misunderstanding" near the Afghan province of Nimroz, Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency said on Wednesday.

"The clashes ended and Iran is discussing the dispute over the border with the Taliban," Tasnim said, adding that reports over the capture of an Iranian border camp by the Taliban were false.

The Taliban's deputy spokesperson Bilal Karimi was quoted by Afghan television station Tolo News confirming the incident took place but declining to provide details.

"He said the clashes had stopped and did not provide information about their cause," the station said in a tweet.

Although the Iranian government has had generally good relations with the Taliban, there have been longstanding tensions along the border, which has active smuggling routes and thousands of refugees crossing every day.



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Thursday, 27 January 2022