Talks with Taliban done with knowledge of Afghan government: Tehran

February 1, 2021 - 21:40

TEHRAN – Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, said on Monday that the talks Iran had with the Taliban were all coordinated with the Afghan government.

Speaking at a weekly press briefing on Monday, Khatibzadeh said, “All talks have taken place either at the request or with the knowledge of the government of Afghanistan.”

He pointed out that Iran not only has formal relations with the Afghan government but it also, unlike other countries, supports its achievements.

The spokesman said the Taliban is part of the reality in Afghanistan and they are talking to the Afghan government.

“As has been said many times, the Taliban are part of the reality of Afghanistan. The Taliban have political offices in Doha, Pakistan, and elsewhere. The group is in direct talks with the official government of Afghanistan. The visit of the Taliban political delegation to Tehran has been reported to the Afghan government and many exchanges have taken place around it. The visit was part of ongoing talks between the Afghan government and the group,” Khatibzadeh noted.

According to the spokesman, there are a lot of controversies about the Taliban and Iran has not forgotten its martyrs who fell victim to the Taliban’s atrocities.

However, Khatibzadeh reiterated that the group is part of intra-Afghan talks.

“We have always supported and support inclusive intra-Afghan talks and the Taliban is one of these groups,” he continued.

A Taliban delegation led by deputy head of the group’s political bureau Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday in Tehran.

During the meeting, Zarif discussed the prospect of Afghan people forming an all-inclusive government, according to a statement issued by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

The statement said Zarif welcomed the idea of the formation of an all-inclusive government with the participation of all ethnic and political groups in Afghanistan.

“Political decisions could not be made in a vacuum, and the formation of an all-inclusive government must take place in a participatory process and by taking into account the fundamental structures, institutions and laws, such as the Constitution,” the statement quoted Zarif as saying in the meeting.

The Iranian foreign minister expressed Iran’s readiness to facilitate dialogue among the Taliban, the Afghan government and other Afghan groups, noting, “The noble people of Afghanistan have been wronged. The war and occupation of Afghanistan have dealt heavy blows to the Afghan people.”

He expressed hope that the Taliban would focus efforts on an immediate end to the pains and problems of Afghan people so that the establishment of peace in Afghanistan would strip the outsiders of a pretext for occupation.

Following the meeting, some media outlets claimed that Zarif had said Iran supports the formation of an “all-inclusive Islamic government” in Afghanistan but the Foreign Ministry strongly dismissed the claim as “distorted” and even “wrong and misleading.”

In a statement on Sunday, Saeed Khatibzadeh said the expression “all-inclusive Islamic government” was never used by the Iranian foreign minister.

“Proper news related to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is published merely by media approved by this ministry, and the publication of any story by media outlets other than what was just said are not valid,” Khatibzadeh underlined.


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