Iran-Afghan border fully secured: IRGC commander

Tehran: The border between Iran and Afghanistan is fully secured and peaceful after a Taliban attack last week, a high-ranking commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said.

“There is no problem with the security of Iran’s borders, and at present all of Iran’s eastern border in common with Afghanistan is in complete security and peace,” Xinhua news agency quoted Mohammad Pakpour, commander of the IRGC’s Ground Forces, was quoted as saying on Sunday.

The commander said he was visiting Iran’s Dowqarun town in the border with Afghanistan to check the readiness of units stationed in the area after the Taliban attacked on July 8 and took over on the Afghan customs office of Islam Qala on the other side of the border.

Pakpour warned that Iranian armed forces would “harshly” deal with “bandits and smugglers” who could try to take advantage of the situation to enter Iranian territory.

Earlier on Sunday, an Iranian police spokesman announced that a number of Afghan border guards and customs officials who had entered Iran amid the Taliban offensive and takeover of the border crossings had been repatriated.

“An official request of the government of Afghanistan from the competent authorities of our country asking for the return of their personnel was approved, and these employees were returned to Afghanistan by flight,” Mehdi Hajian said in an interview with state TV.

On July 8, a number of Afghan border guards and customs officers took refuge in Iran’s Dowqarun customs office as Taliban militants assaulted Islam Qala.

The Afghans, Hajian added, were accommodated by Iran for a few days “on the basis of Islamic standards, the principle of good neighbourliness and in respect of international rules and treaties”.

Also on Sunday, the spokesman for Iran’s customs administration announced trade activities in Mahiroud border terminal, connecting Iran to Afghanistan’s Abu Nasr Farahi, were back to normal.

“With the normalization of activities in the border terminal, special zone and Mahirood market, it is possible to send commercial cargoes, and there will be no ban on the issue of export or transit licenses,” IRNA quoted Ruhollah Latifi as saying.

Taliban militants have been more active since the withdrawal of the US troops at the beginning of May, resulting in the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.