Iran hosts meeting between Taliban and Afghan political figures

Iran hosts meeting between Taliban and Afghan political figures

A number of Afghan political figures have met with a Taliban delegation today, July 07, in Tehran upon official invitations made by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Abdul Salam Rahimi, President’s Special Envoy for Peace, Abdul Karim Khurram, a political figures close to Hamid Karzai, Younus Qanuni, and some other figures have attended the meeting.

Qanuni is leading the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, deputy chief of Taliban’s political office in Doha, is leading the Taliban delegation.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said on twitter the meeting will focus on refugees, border issues between Afghanistan and Iran, security and peace in Afghanistan and in the region.

Delivering the opening speech of the meeting, Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, has said the United States has been defeated in Afghanistan and it has brought “many destructions” during its 20-year presence in the country.

“Today, the people and political leaders of Afghanistan have to make tough decisions for the future of their country,” Zarif was quoted as saying by the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA).

Moreover, Zarif has warned the continuation of conflicts will have “unexpected” consequences. He has stressed the need for the Afghan parties to return to negotiation table and committing to political solutions as the best choice for the Afghan parties.

During his speech, Zarif announced Tehran is ready to help the process of peace talks between the parties in Afghanistan.

Iran has been repeatedly accused of supporting the Taliban, including supplying the militants with weapons and munitions in western and southwestern Afghanistan.

Iranian officials, including Zarif, however, have only confirmed maintaining ties with the Taliban, denying arms support to the group.

Negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban kicked off for the first time in September 2020, in Doha, as part of the US-Taliban peace deal signed on February 29, of the same year.

The intra-Afghan talks, however, did not lead to any result and got bogged down in Doha.