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At least three killed in shooting at Iran-Afghan border

TWO Iranian border guards and one Taliban fighter have been killed after shooting broke out near a border post between Iran and Afghanistan, sharply escalating rising tensions between the two countries amid a dispute over water rights.

“Today, in Nimroz province, Iranian border forces fired toward Afghanistan, which was met with a counter-reaction,” Afghan interior ministry spokesman Abdul Nafi Takor said in a statement.

“The situation is under control now. The Islamic Emirate [Afghanistan] does not want to fight with its neighbours,” the spokesman said, without identifying the victims.

He said one person had been killed on each side and several injured. However, Iran’s official IRNA news agency later said two Iranian border guards had been killed and two Iranian civilians injured.

The semiofficial, English-language newspaper Tehran Times said three Iranian border guards were killed.

The violence came as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi this month warned the Taliban not to violate a 1973 treaty by restricting the flow of water from the Helmand River to Iran’s eastern regions. Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers have denied the accusation.

Enayatullah Khowarazmi, Taliban Ministry of Defence spokesman, said “Unfortunately, today once again in the border areas of Kong district of Nimroz province, there was a shooting by Iranian soldiers, [and] a conflict … broke out.”

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers dialogue and negotiation to be a reasonable way for any problem. Making excuses for war and negative actions is not in the interest of any of the parties,” Khowarazmi said.

Iran, in turn, accused Taliban forces of shooting first.

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