News ID: 217154
Published: 0220 GMT June 23, 2018

Iranian commander due in Afghanistan after border guards killed

Iranian commander due in Afghanistan after border guards killed

The commander of Iran’s border police said he plans to visit neighboring Afghanistan over a recent cross-border attack by armed assailants that led to the martyrdom of two Iranian guards in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan.

Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Saturday, Brigadier General Qassem Rezaei said he will head for the Afghan capital of Kabul on Tuesday to hold talks with senior security officials of the neighboring country about the recent attack on Iranian border guards in Zabol, Tasnim News Agency reported. 

The commander said he will also discuss cross-border interactions and efforts to implement previous agreements on border control between the two countries.

During the clash with the armed militants in Zabol, over one tone of illicit drugs was captured, the commander said, adding that the two border guards were martyred in the operation, which prevented smugglers from crossing the border illegally.

While Iranians were watching the national football team’s match against Spain in the World Cup 2018 games on Wednesday night, servicemen in an outlying Border police station in southeast of the country, near the common border with Afghanistan and Pakistan, came under attack from a group of gunmen, but foiled their attempt to intrude into the Iranian territories.

Two soldiers were killed and three others were wounded in the raid. They served at Talib-Khan Hill station from the Tasouki company, part of the Zabol border regiment.

Iranian military forces along the southeastern border areas are frequently attacked by terrorist groups coming from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Tehran has frequently asked the two neighbors to step up security at the common border to prevent terrorist attacks on Iranian forces.

Last April, 11 Iranian border guards were killed in an ambush near Mirjaveh, which was claimed by Jaish ul-Adl.

The assailants escaped into Pakistani territory immediately after the attack.

Iran, which has a 900-kilometer common border with Afghanistan, has also been used as the main conduit for smuggling Afghan drugs to narcotics kingpins in Europe.

Despite high economic and human costs, the Islamic Republic has been actively fighting drug-trafficking over the past three decades.

The country has spent more than $700 million on sealing its borders and preventing the transit of narcotics destined for European, Arab and Central Asian countries.

The war on drug trade originating from Afghanistan has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 Iranian police officers over the past four decades.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2014, Iran accounted for 74% of the world's opium seizures and 25% of the world's heroin and morphine seizure.

A total of 90 percent of the world’s opium is produced in neighboring Afghanistan.

After the US invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban in 2001, opium production has soared, funding the extremists’ insurgency.

Since the majority of US and NATO ally troops withdrew from the country in 2014, production has increased even further: the UN says up to 6,000 tons of the drug was exported in 2016 thanks to good weather and the intensifying strength of the Taliban.

The global narcotics market is “thriving”, the UN’s crime and drugs agency says, with opiates causing tens of thousands of avoidable deaths a year.





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