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Iran and Afghanistan agree to beef up border security

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KABUL: Afghanistan and Iran have agreed to step up efforts to strengthen security along mutual borders, amid an avalanche of public fury and expressions of concerns over atrocities of Iran police against Afghan migrants, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday.

The agreement was made during the visit of a high-ranking delegation of the Afghan government headed by Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar to Tehran earlier this week to address Afghan refugees’ grievances living in Iran.

The foreign ministry in a statement said Afghan officials raised the issue of fatal incidents in Iran, whereby Iranian authorities provided a brief about the progression of their ongoing investigations. “Both sides agreed to take steps to prevent tragic incidents from happening,” it said.

A 15-article joint declaration of foreign ministries of both the nations points to the finalization of Tehran-Kabul joint strategic cooperation agreement, support for Afghanistan peace process and addressing woes of Afghan immigrants in Iran.

According to the joint declaration, Iranian and Afghan border police have been ordered to reinforce security at mutual borders in a bid to thwart illegal border crossing and human trafficking and smuggling. Moreover, both sides have discussed the need for presence of Afghanistan security forces in evacuated border outposts in Iran and also facilitation of Iran visas.

The decision to strengthen border security comes a few weeks after a fatal police shooting in Yazd province which set fire to a car carrying several Afghan refugees, living three dead. Earlier, Iranian border police had been accused of forcing a group of Afghan refugees into a river, resulting in many fatalities. The incidents crystallized anti-Iran sentiments across Afghanistan and the globe and ensues protests.

In his two-day visit, Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar and his entourage has met with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif and interior minister Rahmani Fazli, and the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Ali Shamkhani.

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