Iranian media say Taliban forces opened fire on Iranian peasants who believed they were crossing the border, prompting Iranian soldiers to intervene.
Tehran, Iran Clashes broke out between Iranian soldiers and Taliban forces near the border between Afghanistan and Iran, but they appear to have led to no casualties and were later described as a “misunderstanding”.
Several videos on Wednesday showed Taliban troops mobilizing. Shots can be heard as Iranian forces fire artillery shells in response to Taliban fire.
The semi-official Iranian news agency Tasnim confirmed the battle in the village of Shaghalak in Hirmand county.
Tasnim, who has links to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said there are walled areas on Iranian soil near the border with Afghanistan to combat smuggling.
Some Iranian farmers crossed the walls but were still inside Iran’s border when Taliban forces opened fire, believing its side had been violated, the report said.
The fighting was over and the Iranian authorities discussed the situation with the Taliban, it added.
Later Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement that a “misunderstanding between border residents” had caused the fighting, not to mention the Taliban.
A video allegedly showed Taliban forces inside an Iranian garrison, with reports claiming several outposts were seized.
Tasnim refused to seize any facilities, but said that “some of the published footage was for the early moments of fighting, and border forces now have complete control over the country’s borders”.
But a report from the semi-official Fars news site, which also has links to the IRGC, did not mention the Taliban, saying that smugglers may be to blame. It said there were no casualties and that the area is now calm.
Mohammad Marashi, the security deputy for Sistan and Baluchestan’s governor, told Iranian state television that the clashes were not serious, sustained no damage to personnel or property and were completed. He appointed Taliban forces as the instigators.
Iran has not officially recognized the Taliban since the group quickly took control of neighboring Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US forces in August.
Iranian officials have repeatedly said recognition would depend on the formation of an “inclusive” government in Afghanistan, but have called on the United States to lift its sanctions on the Taliban to allay humanitarian concerns.
In mid-November, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, Iran’s Special Representative in Afghanistan, led an Iranian delegation on an official visit to the country to hold talks. He met with several Taliban officials to discuss the country’s economy, geopolitics in the region and security issues.
In late October, Iran hosted a meeting between neighbors and Russia in Tehran, but Taliban officials were not invited.