Iran reopened its eastern border with Afghanistan following its closure in September in anticipation of US military strikes and a probable influx of Afghan refugees into its territory, UNHCR sources told AFP Tuesday.
"The border station in Dogharoun (a northeastern Iranian city close to Herat) reopened on Tuesday and some 300 commercial trucks, which had been blocked (from entering Afghanistan), have passed through," Millicent Mutuli, a UNHCR official, said.
She said Iranian authorities on Tuesday had given their "approval" for the departure of an important aid convoy from Iran's Red Crescent society as well as the UNHCR for the people in Herat.
"The convoy, which comprises 15 trucks, will leave Mashhad (northeastern Iran) and cross the border on Wednesday," the spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Iran said.
The trucks, three of which belong to the UNHCR and 12 to the Red Crescent, are carrying material including 2,000 plastic sheets and 10,000 blankets for more than 12,000 displaced people in a camp in Herat which is sheltering some 200,000 Afghans.
The Red Crescent set up two camps inside Afghanistan near the border with Iran after the United States in October began its campaign against the Afghan Taliban regime and Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the September 11 anti-US terror attacks.
Home already to more than two million Afghan refugees, Iran closed its border with Afghanistan shortly after September 11 to prevent a major influx -- Tehran (AFP)
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