Iranians kill 13 Afghan refugees – Afghan police
09 Apr 2008 14:58:54 GMT
HERAT, Afghanistan, April 9 (Reuters) – Iranian security forces have killed 13 Afghan refugees on the Afghan side of the two countries’ border, an Afghan police official said on Wednesday.
Afghanistan’s western border with Iran is generally peaceful though smugglers occasionally clash with security forces.
Afghan regional police chief Rahmatullah Safi said the 13 Afghans were refugees and had been shot just inside Afghanistan, in Herat province, late on Tuesday.
“This is a barbaric act. We have sent a protest letter,” Safi told Reuters. He said Iranian forces had not crossed into Afghanistan to kill the men.
The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press, citing an Afghan commander on the border, said 12 Afghans were killed when Iranian troops attacked them inside Iran.
Safi said the dead were not smugglers.
Asked why they had been killed, he said: “Ask the Iranian consulate.”
Iranian media said this week Iranian security forces had killed at least 18 drug smugglers and armed men near the border with Afghanistan, the latest incident in the area this week.
The semi-official Fars News Agency said a clash occurred on Monday in northeastern Iran and 24 people were killed.
Iran is a smuggling conduit for drugs from Afghanistan, the world’s biggest producer of opium.
Iran has often accused old foe the United States of failing to combat the growing drugs problem in Afghanistan since U.S.-led forces ousted the Islamist Taliban government in 2001. ^
(Reporting by Sharafuddin Sharafyar in Herat; Writing by Sayed Salahuddin; Editing by Robert Birsel and Jerry Norton)