Tehran-Kabul Talks Could Ease Tensions

Tehran-Kabul Talks Could Ease Tensions
Tehran-Kabul Talks Could Ease Tensions

Recent negotiations between Iranian and Afghan officials were a constructive move that could help ease recent tensions between the two neighbors and settle longstanding conflicts, an analyst said. 
Afghanistan’s interim foreign minister, Mohammad Hanif Atmar, visited Iran last week to discuss a range of issues, including recent tensions over the deaths in May of Afghan migrants near Iran borders.    
“Talks between Iranian and Afghan officials were positive and helped stop the deterioration of the emotional climate [against Iran],” Nozar Shafiei, a regional affairs expert, said in an interview with ISNA.
He added that challenges that can lead to conflicts between countries are normal, but need to be addressed through dialogue.
“Issues between Iran and Afghanistan should not be dealt with in the media and social media, but should be addressed in a logical way through diplomacy,” he said. 
“Iran and Afghanistan are neighbors with long borders and are affected by each other’s domestic affairs.” 
According to Shafiei, the two countries have had conflicts over two major protracted problems, namely Afghan migrants and border security, which have remained unsolved.
Over three million Afghans now live in Iran and enjoy equal rights to an Iranian citizen, but there has always been negative campaigning against the county over the treatment of these migrants. 
“Besides, Iran has always called on Afghans to migrate legally, but they keep crossing the borders illegally without any control by the Afghan government,” Shafiei said. 
The expert pointed to smuggling of goods, drugs and human from Afghanistan as another issue bothering Iranian border cities and towns.
“The recent incidents encouraged officials from the two countries to move toward negotiation to resolve their conflicts,” he said, hoping that the talks could result in a strategic cooperation document. 
Several Afghan migrants drowned in Harirud river along the Iran-Afghanistan border in May. 
Afghan officials claim migrants were forced into a river by Iranian border guards while they were illegally crossing into Iran from Herat Province.
Iranian authorities have dismissed the claims, saying the incident occurred inside Afghan territory.
Later, three Afghans died and several others were injured after a car chase with police in the central city of Yazd. 
Ghafoor Lewal, the Afghan ambassador in Tehran, traveled to the city to discuss with local officials reasons behind the alleged police shooting at the vehicle. 
Iranian officials said the driver of the vehicle defied police instructions and failed to stop at a checkpoint.

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