Clashes erupt between Iranian soldiers and Taliban forces near Afghanistan-Iran border

Clashes erupted between Iranian soldiers and Taliban forces near the Afghanistan-Iran border, but appear to have led to no casualties and was later described as a “misunderstanding”.

Multiple videos showed Taliban troops mobilising. Gunfire can be heard while one shows Iranian forces firing 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, which has links with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said there are walled areas on Iranian soil near the border with Afghanistan in order to combat smuggling.

Some Iranian farmers passed the walls but were still inside Iran’s border when Taliban forces opened fire, thinking its side had been violated, the report said.

The fighting was over and Iranian authorities were discussing the situation with the Taliban, it added.

Later Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement a “misunderstanding between border residents” had caused the fighting, without naming the Taliban.

Tasnim denied the seizure of any facilities, but said “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 by the semi-official Fars news website, which also has ties with the IRGC, made no mention of the Taliban, saying smugglers may be at fault. It said there were no casualties and the area is now calm.

Iran has not officially recognised the Taliban since the group quickly took control of neighbouring Afghanistan following the withdrawal of United States forces in August.

Iranian officials have repeatedly said the recognition would hinge on the formation of an “inclusive” government in Afghanistan, but have called on the US to lift its sanctions on the Taliban to quell humanitarian concerns.