By Ali Kushki 

Iran urges coordination with Kabul to restore peace  

May 14, 2017

TEHRAN – Any efforts by foreign actors to establish contacts with various consequential groups in the embattled Afghanistan should be coordinated with its central government, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has said. 

“Any contact between regional countries and Afghan groups should be in coordination with the central government and in line with its national interests,” Bahram Ghasemi told the Afghan Voice Agency (AVA) in an interview published on Sunday. 

“No one should intervene in Afghanistan’s affairs unilaterally,” Ghasemi added in response to a question on Iran’s stance toward Russia’s alleged ties with the Taliban militants.  

On if Iran has ever sat down with the Taliban, the spokesman said that there might have been “talks with certain groups” at some points, of which the Afghan government has been informed.

“The talks were limited to certain border and security issues to ensure safer borders.” 

Western powers, particularly the U.S., have launched claims about Iran’s support for the Taliban, an allegation rejected by Tehran as "baseless and illogical".
Iran says, “Any contact between regional countries and Afghan groups should be in coordination with the central government and in line with its national interests.” In 2007, the United States said it was concerned over reports that Iranian-made weapons are crossing the Afghan border and reaching Islamist Taliban insurgents, what Tehran roundly rejected as "baseless and illogical" back then. 

The report was also rejected by the Taliban which said they were not acquiring Iranian arms. 

Also, last February the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan Army Gen. John Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Russia and Iran were supporting the Taliban in part to undermine the U.S. and NATO mission to attain peace and stability in the nation.

The first official peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and the government in Kabul concluded in July 2015. 

Pakistan hosted the meeting in a tentative step towards ending more than 13 years of war in neighboring Afghanistan, where the Taliban have been trying to re-establish its hardline, radical ruling after it was toppled by U.S.-led military intervention in 2001.

Iran is one of Afghanistan’s neighbors who strongly endorses peace-seeking efforts in the country. 

Last January, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif renewed his country's support for efforts aimed at restoring stability to Afghanistan.

"Iran is ready to have closer cooperation with the UN and its affiliated agencies in all areas related to Afghanistan," Zarif said in a meeting with UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Afghanistan and Head of UNAMA Tadamichi Yamamoto in Tehran. 

AK/PA 

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