Customs offices in the town of Islam Qala and Abu Nasr Farahi port on the Afghanistan-Iran border came under Taliban control on Thursday.
According to Iranian media reports, Taliban forces took over both offices, also known as Dogharoun and Mahiroud, within hours of each other. More than 15,000 tons of goods are normally conveyed from Afghanistan to Iran through the major crossing of Islam Qala in Herat alone on a quarterly basis.
Ruhollah Latifi, a spokesman for Iran’s customs agency, told reporters on Thursday: "Merchants should refrain from sending commercial cargo to the Dogharoun and Mahiroud borders until further notice."
There are three official customs checkpoints between Iran and Afghanistan. The only one currently in service is on the Milek border with Sistan and Baluchistan province. Afghan border guards are said to have been forced to enter Iran following the Taliban attack on Islam Qala.
Tensions between the Afghan government and the Taliban have boiled over in recent days following the abrupt departure of US forces from the Bagram Airbase.
On Wednesday, July 7, the Islamic Republic hosted an “Inter-Afghan Dialogue” meeting attended by representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has declared that the responsibility for any bloodshed lies with the Taliban and its supporters, and insisted his government has no desire to “surrender” to the militant Islamist group.
At the outset of 2021 the government controlled roughly 33 per cent of Afghanistan and almost half of the country’s districts are now thought to be contested. The President of Tajikistan has ordered the deployment of an additional 20,000 troops to the border.