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Iranian guards in heavy clashes with Taliban as tensions rise over water

AT News

KABUL: Clashes broke out on Saturday between Iranian border guards and Taliban forces, media reports said, with the Taliban claiming Iran shot first and that the one Afghan border guard was killed.

The clashes were reported in the Kang district of Nimroz. An Iranian police official Qasem Rezaei reportedly said a border outpost in southeastern Iran had come under “heavy attack” by the Taliban, prompting an exchange of fire. Some rights group posted a video and photos from the area where the clashes occurred for a short time.

This comes amid rising tensions over water rights between the two countries a week after Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi warned the Taliban government against violating its water rights to the Helmand River.

According to a 1973 bilateral agreement, Afghanistan is obligated to provide Iran with 850 million cubic meters of water annually from the Helmand River. Taliban officials say that due to low water levels, even if they opened the Kajaki Dam, nothing would reach Iran.

Water from the 1,150-km Helmand River feeds the Hamun Lake in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan Province. The region relies heavily on the lake, and officials say it has suffered major issues because of a persistent lack of water.

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