• publish: 27 May 2020
  • time: 3:13 pm
  • category: Politics
  • No: 13927

Iran-Afghan officials review results of border incident

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohsen Baharvand and Head of Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah discussed the results of an inquiry about an incident along the border Harirud River which claimed the lives of a number of Afghan nationals.

During the meeting on late Tuesday, Baharvand underlined the need for mutual cooperation within the framework of the joint committee to examine the case.

Abdullah, for his part, highlighted good neighborliness between Iran and Afghanistan, saying that his country wants a serious and fair investigation into the human tragedy.

Earlier in the day, the Iranian delegation met with an Afghan delegation headed by Acting Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar in Kabul.

During the meeting, Atmar called for Iran’s cooperation on joint investigations on the Harirud incident.

On May 11, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said that Iran has been hosting over three million Afghans, while providing them with the best facilities over the past 40 years with no discrimination.

He made the remarks in reaction to questions and media hypes over drowning of a number of Afghan nationals in the joint border river.

Providing jobs, free education, free health facilities and many other facilities that are widely available to Afghan guests are indicative of Iran’s good hospitality, he added.

From the first hours some reports were published in various media about the issue, the relevant institutions put a quick and accurate investigation of the incident on the agenda, he said.

“Since the issue was related to the lives of human beings, specially the citizens of the brotherly and neighboring country, Afghanistan, the issue was dealt with double sensitivity and an attempt was also made to take all the aspects of the incident into account at the earliest,” he added.

Mousavi pointed out that accordingly, all relevant institutions, including the political and border departments in Foreign Ministry, the police, the Interior Ministry, the Intelligence Ministry and General Staff of the Armed Forces, were mobilized to obtain a comprehensive assessment and clarify the facts, Mousavi said.

“Due to the spread of coronavirus, COVID-19, and with the aim of keeping border guards away from being infected with the virus, Islamic Republic of Iran did not set up any camp in border regions and any claims such as transfer of Afghan nationals to the camp or forcing them to forced labor, etc. is sheer lie,” Foreign Ministry spokesman added.

He further noted that according to confirmed reports received from the border guards of the Islamic Republic of Iran, there has been no such incident at that time, nor have there been any clashes between the Iranian forces and Afghan nationals.

“However, due to respect for the demands of the friendly and neighborly government of Afghanistan and despite full confidence in the report of the Iranian border guards, all relevant agencies were ordered to carefully and comprehensively review the issue,” he added.

Mousavi underlined that the results of additional investigations by other agencies also confirm the border guard’s report and completely reject the occurrence of the incident as well as alleged involvement.

“It is not surprising to see officials or media of third governments whose usual policy is to seize any opportunity to deal a blow at Iran and harm good relations between the two neighbors leveling empty accusations against Iran’s border forces,” Mousavi said.

He said that “I would like to emphasize once again” that Iran and Afghanistan have long borders, which, despite many ups and downs, have long been a good example of cooperation and friendly relations.

On May 1, some hype surfaced in certain media that the Iranian border guards had thrown as many as 57 Afghans into the Hari River (Harirud) in western Herat province to prevent their illegal entry into Iran. The Khaama Press News Agency said at least 23 of them drowned in Harirud. 

Tehran has categorically dismissed the claims, saying that the incident took place on the Afghan side of the border and Iranian forces had no role in the incident.

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