KABUL: An Iranian official has said that any conflict with Afghanistan over border and water disputes would be “detrimental” to both of them, just in the wake of an outbreak of border clashes between Iranian border guards and Taliban fighters on Sunday.
Director of Iranian Foreign Ministry’s South Asia Department, Seyyed Rasool Musavi, said in a tweet that both countries must prevent from tensions over water disputes turning into a conflict; only a day after deadly gunfire was exchanged along the countries’ mutual border as both sides accused each other of shooting first.
This is as Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi says that negotiations were held with the Taliban and there is now no problem at the moment and that the border point is open for traffic.
The conflict also saw some Taliban officials threatening Iran. Senior Taliban commander Abdulhamid Khorasani said on Sunday that it could conquer Iran and that they will fight against Iranians with more passion than they did against the US forces.
Tensions over water rights have risen between Iran and Afghanistan in recent weeks. Drought-stricken southeastern Iran is heavily dependent on upriver water flows from Afghanistan, leading to calls for Afghanistan to release more water and accusations that Kabul is not honoring a bilateral water treaty signed in 1973.
The Taliban has denied it is in violation of the agreement, and said low water levels on the Helmand River — which feeds lakes and wetlands in Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan Province — preclude releasing more water.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian earlier this month demanded in a call with his Taliban counterpart, Amir Khan Muttaqi, that Afghan authorities open the gates of the inland Kajaki Dam on the Helmand River “so both the people of Afghanistan and Iran can be hydrated.”
During a visit to Sistan-Baluchistan on May 18, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned “the rulers of Afghanistan to immediately give the people of Sistan-Baluchistan their water rights,” adding that the Taliban should take his words “seriously.”