Iran closes key border crossing with Afghanistan as violence escalates

Tehran [Iran], August 8 : Iran has announced the closing of one of its most important border crossing with Afghanistan amid an intensification of the violence in the war-torn country.
This comes as Afghan citizens are entering neighbouring countries to escape the violence by the Taliban, Middle East Monitor reported. Mohammad Hadi Marashi, the provincial deputy governor for security affairs in Sistan and Baluchestan, told the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) that the border between Iran and Afghanistan in the Milak District of the province has been closed due to ongoing battles in the city of Zaranj, near the Iranian border.
Marashi added: “The city of Nomruz in Afghanistan fell last night and the Taliban movement controlled most of the city’s areas, before they retreated after military reinforcements arrived at the city.”
The Iranian official indicated: “The situation on the border is calm at the moment.” He noted: “In order to protect national interests, the region’s army, border forces and police are fully stationed in the border area and on Ibrahim Bridge to monitor any possible Afghan movements.”
Iran, which shares 921 kilometres long border with Afghanistan, fears that the escalation of violence in the war-torn country will have a fallout effect in the neighbouring countries.
The country has three border ports with Afghanistan-the Dogaron port, which the Taliban took control over on 8 July, and the Islam Qala port.
The Islam Qala port is an important transit route between the two countries, linking the Herat district to the Razavi Khorasan province, north-eastern Iran.
The border between Afghanistan and Iran stretches over 921 kilometres.
As the military conflict intensified in western Afghanistan, Afghan families fled to the Iranian border areas on Friday night.
At the UNSC meeting on Afghanistan on Friday, member states expressed concern about the deteriorating situation and called for a political settlement.
In the past few weeks, Afghanistan has witnessed a surge in violence as the Taliban has intensified their offensive against civilians and Afghan security forces.
The Taliban forces have also taken control over several districts of Kandahar and have detained hundreds of residents whom they accuse of association with the government. The Taliban have reportedly killed some detainees, including relatives of provincial government officials and members of the police and army.
In another recent development, civilian casualties in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 reached record levels with over 1,659 people killed and 3,254 others wounded.
The rise is mainly due to a spike in violence in May that corresponded with the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ghulam M Isaczai said that the Taliban is receiving assistance from foreign fighters of transnational terrorist networks while committing “barbaric” acts in the war-torn country.”In a deliberate act of barbarism, Taliban isn’t alone.”
“They’re assisted by foreign fighters from transnational terrorist networks. Together they are threatening peace, security and stability in Afghanistan and also in our region and beyond,” Isaczai said

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