0544 GMT July 02, 2020
Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar hosted the Iranian delegation, headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Mohsen Baharvand, which arrived in Kabul on Tuesday.
According to a statement by the Afghan Foreign Ministry, the Afghan foreign minister explained various stages of Kabul’s investigation into the incident and the evidence obtained by the Afghan delegation, and called on the Iranian government to pay more attention to the joint probe into the incident, IRNA reported.
Atmar said the purpose of the investigation is to discover the facts and to take the necessary measures to prevent a repetition of such incidents, which may affect relations between the two “friendly and neighboring” countries.
A number of Afghan media outlets alleged on May 1 that more than 40 illegal migrants had been arrested by Iranian border guards and thrown into Harirud River, which resulted in the deaths of Afghan migrants trying to cross into Iran illegally.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry in a statement said later that the incident had taken place on Afghan soil.
The statement came hours after Iranian police border guards in a statement strongly denied the allegations about the arrest of illegal Afghan migrants by its forces, stressing that the incident occurred on Afghanistan’s soil.
On May 10, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Hanif Atmar agreed on the formation of a joint delegation to investigate the incident.
“Our friends believe that the incident took place on Afghan soil, but because of the importance of Afghanistan for the Islamic Republic and the brotherly relations we have with Afghanistan, a joint committee is to carry out an investigation in both countries,” Zarif said.
Iran and Afghanistan share more than 750 kilometers of border. About three million Afghans – a mix of refugees and illegal migrants – live in Iran, a large number of them having arrived after their country plunged into conflict in the 1980s.
Young Afghans constantly flow across the border to seek work, many of them smuggled through dangerous deserts, often traveling for a week at a time, packed into the back of pick-up trucks.