Tehran, Iran – Iran will only support an “inclusive” government in neighboring Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told a Taliban delegation.
In a meeting on Sunday with the group led by senior Taliban official Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the senior Iranian diplomat emphasized a multilateral approach while offering to facilitate talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government and warning against resorting to the United States.
“Political decisions cannot be made in a vacuum. The formation of an inclusive government must be done within the framework of a participatory process which takes into account the structures, the entities and the fundamental rules like the constitution ”, declared a statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“The war and occupation of Afghanistan have inflicted heavy damage on the good people of Afghanistan. I hope you will strive to put an end to the people’s problems and take the apologies of the occupiers out of their hands by bringing peace to Afghanistan as soon as possible, ”Zarif told Baradar.
The Taliban signed a peace deal with the United States in February 2020 that aimed to ensure the security of allies and American interests in Afghanistan and the region in return for the withdrawal of troops from the country, which has been in turmoil since the invasion. in 2001.
The agreement also set the parameters for intra-Afghan talks on the future of the country in which the Taliban are participating, as they take place during rounds of negotiations in Doha.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last week that President Joe Biden’s administration is reviewing the peace deal and is committed to securing the US-Afghan partnership.
Biden is expected to deliver his first major foreign policy speech on Monday, which will include both the war in Afghanistan and his administration’s approach to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and regional influence.
Kabul said the Iranian government had notified it in advance of the Taliban’s visit and that Tehran had said it would insist with the Taliban that a pause in violent attacks against civilians and government officials was essential and that lasting peace should be pursued within the framework of the Afghan constitution.
Taliban political leader Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai is also leading a delegation to Russia for talks.
“Because Mr. Ghani came to power through illegal means, it would be better if he resign for peace and hand over power to the true representatives of Afghanistan,” Stanikzai said after landing in Moscow.
Last week, the Taliban delegation met with Ali Shamkhani, Iranian secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.
At that meeting, Shamkhani told Baradar that Iran is opposed to violence in Afghanistan, especially in the western provinces of Afghanistan that border Iran.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will never recognize a movement that would like to gain power through war in Afghanistan,” he said.
Expressing pessimism about US intentions in Afghanistan, Shamkhani said, “The US is not looking for peace and security in Afghanistan. Its approach is to perpetuate war and bloodshed between the various Afghan factions.
Shamkhani posted a Tweeter after the meeting, saying he believed the Taliban leadership was determined to fight the United States.
“Someone who has been under American torture at Guantanamo for 13 years has not given up fighting the United States in the region,” he wrote in reference to the infamous American prison.
The Taliban delegation’s visit and Shamkhani’s comments drew criticism online from Afghans and officials.
Yasin Zia, chief of staff of the Afghan army, said Shamkhani’s understanding of the war in Afghanistan was wrong.
“The Taliban are not fighting against the United States, they are fighting against the Afghan people,” he said. tweeted in response to Shamkhani’s tweet. “We will act decisively against any group of enemies of the Afghan people.”
Nasty, the Taliban had recently criticized Iran for calling it a “terrorist” group.
In an interview with Afghan channel TOLOnews at the end of December, Zarif was pressed to know if Iran considered the Taliban to be such.
“Listen, the Taliban have committed a lot of terrorist acts. Are the Taliban still a terrorist group? In our laws, we still have not removed the Taliban from our list of terrorists, ”said the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Taliban condemned the “irresponsible” comments they saw as “clear intervention in the affairs of Afghanistan”.