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Taliban use heavy weapons in military drill near Iran border

AT News

KABUL: The Taliban on Thursday moved their military cavalries to Iran border in southwest Afghanistan and tested heavy weapons in a military exercise just a week after a clash between the forces of the two neighbors.

Taliban forces conducted military exercises in Zaranj area of Nimruz province bordering Iran on Thursday. Taliban commander Mohammad Nabi said, “Troops of the 3rd border division carried out military exercises and heavy weapons tests in Nimruz. It was not clear what weapons were used during the drills and the reasons behind it being conducted near Iran border.

Nabi added that the Taliban security and border forces conducted exercises in a professional manner, using all types of heavy weapons. The latest development came just days after the Iranian and the Taliban forced clashed on the Nimruz border in which three people, two in Iran and one in Afghanistan, were killed. The two sides accused each other of starting border clashes.

However, recently tension escalated between the two countries over a long-running water dispute, mainly over the Hirmand River, also known as the Helmand River.

The river originates in the Hindu Kush mountain range near Kabul and flows into Iran’s Hamoun wetlands in Sistan-Baluchestan after covering a long stretch of 1,126 kilometers (700 miles).

Iran has accused successive Afghan governments of restricting the flow of water from the river by constructing dams, a claim denied by Afghan authorities.

Last month, during a phone call with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian, Afghan Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi discussed water scarcity and a decrease in rainfall in the western regions of the country, stressing his country’s official position under the existing bilateral agreement.

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