Iran says border with Afghanistan 'secure' after Taliban capture of crossing

Iran says border with Afghanistan 'secure' after Taliban capture of crossing
2 min read
Iran has announced that its border with Afghanistan is 'secure' following the Taliban seizure of the Islam Qala crossing from government forces.
The Taliban have recently captured areas near the Afghanistan-Iran border [Getty]

Iran said its border with war-torn Afghanistan was "secure" on Friday, after the Taliban said it had seized a key crossing between the two countries.

"The borders of the Islamic republic are peaceful and secure, thanks to our diligent border guards, and there is no insecurity at our country's frontier with Afghanistan," foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.

A Taliban spokesman said earlier Friday the insurgents had captured the main border post with Iran and were in control of 85 percent of Afghanistan, following an escalation in fighting as US troops withdraw from the war-torn nation.

The Islam Qala post "is now under our full control and we will try to put it back in operation today", spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP.

Islam Qala is a major transit route through which Kabul conducts most of its official trade with Iran.

Tareq Arian, a spokesman for Afghanistan's interior ministry, told AFP in Kabul that government forces were seeking to retake Islam Qala.

Khatibzadeh did not refer to the Taliban claim they had captured Islam Qala.

But he said that due to "confrontations... inside Afghan territory, a number of Afghan [customs] employees have entered Iran".

A senior army official said earlier that Iran's armed forces were monitoring the "slightest" activity at the frontier with Afghanistan.

"We will not allow any smuggling operation or any unauthorised entry," said Brigadier General Farhad Arianfar, quoted by state news agency IRNA, during a tour of the border zone.

The frontier between Iran and Afghanistan is about 900 kilometres (550 miles) long, and Islam Qala is one of three crossings between the two countries.

Iran's Tasnim news agency reported on Friday that dozens of Iranian trucks were stuck on the Afghan side of the border facing Khorasan Razavi province.

It also quoted customs official Omid Jahankhah as saying 45 truck had crossed into Iran empty.

On Thursday, an Iranian customs spokesman said operations at two of the three border crossings into Afghanistan would be suspended until further notice.

Iran hosts several million Afghan refugees and migrant workers and is deeply concerned about the intensifying turmoil in its neighbouring country.

On Wednesday, the Taliban and Afghan government held talks in Tehran, with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urging the two sides to "make difficult decisions for the future of their country".