The clashes are taking place in the Nimruz Province in southwestern Afghanistan over much of the country's border with Iran. At least three people have been killed – two Iranian and one Taliban – and several others wounded. (Related: The government spent BILLIONS to equip Afghan forces, only for American military hardware to end up in Taliban hands.)
Reports indicate that the tensions escalated into conflict after the Taliban prevented the construction of a road and the installation of barbed wire by Iranian border guards to demarcate the border.
Videos of the border clashes have circulated all over social media. All of the videos showing the Taliban fighters show them using a mix of old Soviet gear and more modern American weaponry from the U.S. involvement in the War on Terror in the country.
One video showed a convoy of American armored Humvees rolling down a road reportedly on their way to the border. Another video showed a massive Soviet-made artillery piece rolling down the road on the back of an American-made transport truck.
One dramatic video first seen on a Telegram channel showed a Taliban-operated Humvee with an American-made heavy machine gun in front of a fortification flying an Iranian flag.
Much of the American equipment being used by the Taliban comes from the around $18.6 billion the U.S. spent on equipping the now-disbanded armed forces of the former Afghan government. The Department of Defense itself has admitted that it left behind about $7.12 billion worth of military equipment, and it is having a hard time keeping track of where it all went in the wake of America's withdrawal from Afghanistan.
One Taliban official told Al Jazeera that, following the U.S. withdrawal, it had taken more than 300,000 small arms, 26,000 heavy weapons and around 61,000 military vehicles. The Taliban plans to use these U.S.-made arms and equipment and the Soviet-era armor owned by the previous government as the backbone of its new armed forces, or "grand army."
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Both Iranian and Taliban are claiming that the other side initiated the shooting. But both of their respective governments have issued measured statements aiming to de-escalate the situation. The Taliban claimed it did not want to "fight with its neighbors," while Iran has called on Kabul to follow international laws and proper border protocols.
The recent conflict allegedly stems from an escalating dispute between Kabul and Tehran over water rights to the Helmand River, a vital source of water for both nations in the region, supporting agriculture, ecosystems and livelihoods.
The Helmand River originates near Kabul and flows in a southwesterly direction through Afghanistan for about 715 miles before entering Iranian territory and emptying into Lake Hamun, which straddles the Iran-Afghan border and is the largest freshwater lake in Iran.
The water from Helmand used to feed into one of the world's largest freshwater wetlands in southeastern Iran, stradding about 1,600 square miles between Iran and Afghanistan. But much of this wetland has since dried up, with experts blaming it mostly on Afghanistan damming up the river and instituting water controls.
How Helmand water is shared is supposedly governed by the Helmand River Treaty, signed by Afghanistan and Iran in 1973 for the express purpose of regulating the allocation of river water. But the treaty has never been properly ratified nor implemented.
In recent years, Iran has repeatedly accused Afghanistan of violating its water rights, arguing that far less water than the amount agreed to in the treaty has entered Iran.
Iran is concerned for the construction of dozens of dams, reservoirs and irrigation systems along the Helmand River that Tehran claims are reducing water flow into Iran.
The Taliban have rejected Iran's accusations, instead blaming the drought and shortage of rainfall for the reduction in river water volumes flowing into Iran. Kabul further argues it is within its rights to expand its water storage and irrigation capacities within Afghanistan, regardless of how that affects Helmand River water output.
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Watch this broadcast from EpochTV discussing how the Taliban is using American weapons against Iran.