Iran says Taliban doesn’t represent entire Afghanistan but should be part of solution

June 28, 2021 - 18:45

TEHRAN – Iran on Monday said the Taliban represent only part of Afghanistan and not the entire country not now and not in the future.

However, Iran said Taliban should be seen as part of the solution to end the protracted conflict in the Central Asian country.

“The Taliban does not constitute all Afghanistan, but is part of that country and part of the way out of crisis,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said, according to Tasnim.

Khatibzadeh stressed the need for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan through “peaceful and sustainable solutions” that would involve all Afghan groups and ethnicities.

Khatibzadeh also said Iran is closely monitoring the situation in Afghanistan at high security and political levels and is negotiating with all Afghan groups.

“It is necessary to protect the territorial integrity (of Afghanistan) and its achievements of the past two decades. Moreover, authentic intra-Afghan dialogue is the sole sustainable solution. We are prepared to facilitate the talks,” Khatibzadeh stated.

He also underlined that Iran would not rush to comment or make any forecast on the possible collapse of Kabul and the subsequent developments in Afghanistan. “What matters to us is (the formations of) an inclusive government, security, and territorial integrity of Afghanistan. We are monitoring the moves of Daesh in Afghanistan.”

Reiterating that Iran is ready to facilitate the intra-Afghan dialogue with the participation of all groups, including the Taliban, Khatibzadeh said, “Violence has escalated in Afghanistan. Some ethnicities are under pressure, and we called for respect for their rights. The political solution would guarantee the future of Afghanistan.”

Iranian officials maintain that the intra-Afghan negotiations should include all Afghan groups and be held in accordance with the Afghan constitution.

The Taliban is making rapid advances in Afghanistan. It views the Ashraf Ghani government as a puppet regime. Last week the UN expressed alarm at their gains.

Some analysts say Taliban have been moderated over the years.

A member of an Islamabad-based think tank believes that the “Taliban are accommodating all ethnic groups” as it looks forward to seize the power in Kabul.

“Taliban are accommodating all the ethnic groups in their organization as they have eyes on the upcoming administration in Kabul,” Zafar Iqbal Yousafzai, a senior research associate at Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), tells the Tehran Times. 

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that the government of Afghanistan could collapse as soon as six months after the American military withdrawal from the country is completed, according to officials with knowledge of the new assessment, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.

American intelligence agencies revised their previously more optimistic estimates as the Taliban swept through northern Afghanistan in recently days, seizing dozens of districts and surrounding major cities. Afghan security forces frequently surrendered without a fight, leaving their Humvees and other American-supplied equipment to the insurgents.

The new assessment of the overall U.S. intelligence community, which hasn’t been previously reported, has now aligned more closely with the analysis that had been generated by the U.S. military. The military has already withdrawn more than half of its 3,500 troops and its equipment, with the rest due to be out by Sept. 11.

On Wednesday, Taliban fighters were battling government troops inside the northern city of Kunduz after occupying the main border crossing with Tajikistan the previous day and reaching the outskirts of northern Afghanistan’s main hub, Mazar-e-Sharif. Tajikistan’s border service said 134 Afghan troops at the crossing were granted refuge while some 100 others were killed or captured by the Taliban.

The U.S. is pulling out from Afghanistan, ending the country’s longest overseas war, as a result of the February 2020 agreement that the Trump administration negotiated with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that, while Taliban attacks on Afghan forces are increasing, there has been no such rise in attacks on American troops. “Had we not begun to draw down, violence would have increased against us as well,” she said. “So the status quo, in our view, was not an option.”

U.S. President Joe Biden has said that Afghans "are going to have to decide their future" as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani visited the White House on Friday.

According to al Jazeera, about 5,000 Afghan families have fled their homes in the northern city of Kunduz after days of fighting between Taliban fighters and government forces, officials said on Saturday.

Heavy fighting has also been reported in the provinces of Kandahar and Baghlan, where the Afghan forces claimed to have retaken areas from Taliban control but the armed group still held on to parts of Pul-e-Khumri area in central Baghlan, according to local media.

According to the WSJ, the setbacks suffered by the Afghan military in recent days prompted the prominent mujahedeen commanders who fought the Taliban before 2001, such as Atta Mohammad Noor, to call on supporters to rejoin armed militias in a national mobilization. While this mobilization is ostensibly in support of Afghan government forces, it shifts the power away from Ghani’s embattled administration and toward the warlords whose authority he long tried to curb.

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