KABUL ( SW) - Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar spoke by telephone with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, over allegations that a number of Afghan citizens had been drowned by Iranian border guards in river.
A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the two sides stressed the importance of launching serious investigations into the incident. The statement added that the Afghan Investigative Committee had arrived in Herat province and had begun its investigation.
"The purpose of this investigation is to get the facts, to make the next decision in the light of it, and to find solutions to prevent recurrences of such incidents," the statement said.
The Iranian foreign minister also said that his country would send a delegation to the scene to investigate the incident.
The Foreign Ministry said that if necessary, the delegations of the two countries would hold a joint meeting at the venue and in the cities of Mashhad and Herat.
One week ago, dozens of Afghan citizens were thrown into river after being tortured by Iranian border guards. The surviving migrants told Salam Watandar that 57 migrants were thrown in river resulting in death of 23 of them. According to them, the Iranian border guards warned them that "either throw yourself into the river or they will be killed by bullets." Prior to the sinking, the migrants had been detained by Iranian border guards overnight.
Following allegations by local Afghan officials, the Iranian government denied that Afghan citizens were tortured and drowned by border guards, saying that Iranian border guards had no role in the incident, but the Afghan delegation led by Mohammad Hamid Tahmasi said yesterday that their findings showed that ten people died and 15 others were missing in the incident.
A number of Herat civil society activists protested in front of the Iranian consulate in the city, condemning the throwing of Afghan citizens into the river by Iranian border guards. They called on the international community and the United Nations to punish the perpetrators.