EghtesadOnline: Trade with Afghanistan via Milak border crossing is back to normal, the spokesman of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration announced on Dec. 2.
Clashes between Iranian soldiers and Taliban forces at the Iran-Afghanistan border briefly led to the closure of the border, which appear to have caused no injuries and were afterwards described as a “misunderstanding”.
On Dec. 1, IRICA asked traders to avoid Milak border until further notice, ISNA reported.
Milak border terminal is located in Sistan-Baluchestan Province and is the main trade gateway between Iran and Afghanistan.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Wednesday clashes between Iranian border guards and Taliban forces in the border area of Sistan-Baluchestan Province and Nimroz Province of Afghanistan, have ended following coordination between the border guards of the two countries.
“This evening, a dispute between border residents caused a shooting in the Sistan border area, which had been ended with the coordination of the border guards on both sides,” Khatibzadeh was quoted as saying by Tasnim News Agency.
Mohammad Marashi, Sistan-Baluchestan governor-general’s deputy for security, told IRIB News the clashes were not serious, inflicted no harm on personnel or property, and had ended.
According to Marashi, Taliban forces had opened fire at Iranian farmers carrying out agricultural checks on their lands close to the zero point of the border, unaware of the specifics of the Iranian territory, forcing Iranian border guards to respond.
“This confrontation, the crossfire, took place and lasted for almost a few hours … Following negotiations and follow-ups that have taken place, the situation is calm and there is no particular problem. What has been published in cyberspace under the title of [border] checkpoints being seized is not true at all,” Marashi stated after several media outlets claimed Iranian border outposts had fallen into Taliban hands.
According to Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Investment statistics, Iran is the biggest exporter to Afghanistan, and this year exports have reached $1.5 billion.
Electrical appliances, raw materials for production, petroleum products and foodstuff are the main commodities exported from Iran to Afghanistan.
ACCI says Afghanistan’s exports to Iran reached $17 million in the current fiscal year, which shows a 50% increase compared to last year.
The issue with Taliban in July initially led to the closure of border crossings and decline in trade. Milak border crossing reopened on Aug. 11.
“With the reopening of the Milak border crossing, all three of Iran's official borders with Afghanistan are open and the process of exporting Iranian goods by Afghan traders and shipping companies to this country is underway,” Rouhollah Latifi, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s spokesperson, was quoted as saying by Islamic Republic of Iran’s Customs Administration’s Telegram Channel, Gomrok News.
Milak was initially closed from Aug. 6 for security reasons due to the Taliban offensive. The border is one of the major strategic junctions that connects landlocked Afghanistan to international waters through Iran.