Iranian Ambassador asserts regional consensus on counterterrorism and drug cooperation with Taliban

The Iranian ambassador for Afghanistan, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, has said that there is a regional consensus on interactions with the Taliban regarding counterterrorism and drugs.

In a series of tweets following his meeting with the UN Special Coordinator, Feridun Sinirlioğlu, the Iranian diplomat said that “regional countries have a consensus in their approach of cooperating and interacting with the Taliban and fighting against terrorism and drugs.”

Qomi stated that at his meeting Feridun Sinirlioğlu he presented him a report on the educational, health, and humanitarian services of Iran has been providing to refugees from Afghanistan.

Qomi’s remarks come amid mounting concerns over the Taliban’s “strong” and “symbiotic” ties with regional and transnational terrorist outfits, including the Al-Qaeda and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Taliban has been criticized for breaching the Doha Agreement, a deal signed between the US and the Taliban in February 2020 in Doha, Qatar that eventually paved the way for all US and NATO troops to withdraw from Afghanistan in mid-August 2021.

The US had previously accused the Taliban of violating the Doha Agreement by harboring Ayman al-Zawahiri, the former leader of Al-Qaeda, who was killed in a US drone strike in Kabul on 31 July 2022.

Pakistan has expressed concerns about the presence of TTP fighters in Afghanistan and the involvement of citizens of Afghanistan in terrorist activities in Pakistan, despite reports showing Taliban’s plan to relocate thousands of TTP members from border areas into the northern and central regions of Afghanistan, a move Pakistan has welcomed.

Russia and Central Asian states have also expressed concerns over the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, calling for strict counter-terrorism measures against terrorist groups, particularly against the Islamic State – Khorasan Province (ISKP).

The UN Security Council has recorded 1,650 security-related incidents in the first months of 2023 in Afghanistan, calling terrorism a serious threat to peace and stability in the country and the region.