Taliban needs to reform based on democratic ways, says Zarif

April 16, 2021 - 21:57

TEHRAN — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke at the Raisina Dialogue 2021 forum on situation in Afghanistan on Friday, saying the Taliban needs to reform itself.

The forum, organized by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, was also attended by Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s Minister of External Affairs, and Hamdullah Mohib, National Security Advisor to the Afghan government. 

According to the Raisina 2021 Twitter page, Zarif stated that Iran is prepared to provide any forum for the Taliban and any other groups including the government to engage in serious talks and move forward towards peace, without threats and violence.

“The commitment of the U.S. to finally withdraw from Afghanistan is a positive move. The Taliban should not use this opportunity to increase their violence. They should understand that the people of Afghanistan have had enough violence,” said the minister.  

Zarif said he believes that the Taliban has to reform based on democratic ways. 
“If they want to go back to their 90s ideology, it will be impossible, as there is a new and different Afghanistan today,” Zarif remarked.

The chief Iranian diplomat said, “It is important for all Afghans to agree on what they want and then work on the details on how to create it. Regional countries should help Afghanistan create that picture, a democratic government, balanced ethnic representation, and a strong economy.”

Chabahar port has a particular promise as a means of access to the Indian Ocean for landlocked Afghanistan. 

On that note, Zarif added, “If we provide Afghanistan with transit opportunities through Chabahar to international markets, we will be able to build a viable public economy that is not dependent on drugs or any other criminal activity.” 

The Iranian foreign minister said it is needed that regional countries to set aside differences and focus on affinities.

“We need to put aside our differences and focus on our commonalities, including the fact that an Islamic emirate in Afghanistan is an existential threat to Pakistan and a national security threat to Iran and India,” Raisina 2021 Twitter page quoted Zarif as saying. 

He said the role of civil society in Afghanistan today is not comparable to 2001 or the 1990s. 

The minister added, “While there are problems that remain in the country, Iran, India and Pakistan need to preserve what has been achieved in Afghanistan and ensure its continuity.”

Iran has tried to maintain peace and security in Afghanistan, through dialogue with the Taliban, and the Afghan government in the past years. Although the presence of a Taliban delegate in Iran was shocking to many analysts, the Afghan government had been notified in advance. 

Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that Tehran had in fact sought the Afghan government’s views in advance.

According to Zarif, who met with the Taliban delegation on January 31, “political decisions cannot be made in a vacuum and an inclusive government must be formed in a participatory process and needs to consider all fundamental structures, institutions, and laws, such as the constitution.”


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