Courage in peace more important than courage in war, Zarif tells intra-Afghan talks

July 9, 2021 - 12:0

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday advised the Afghan government and the Taliban that “showing courage in peace is more important than showing courage in war.”

Tehran hosted dialogue between representatives from Afghanistan and the Taliban on Wednesday and Thursday. Representatives from the Afghan parliament and prominent figures supporting the Republic system in the country also visited Tehran.

“Showing courage in peace is more important than showing courage in war; because to achieve peace, one must sacrifice and forgive and ignore maximum demands and [instead] heed the demands of the other side, especially in these negotiations where ... both sides are brothers and in pursuit of peace and well-being of the Afghan nation,” Zarif told the final session of the talks, according to Press TV.

Zarif also praised delegations for giving priority to peace and well-being of the Afghan people in the talks.

Iran’s chief diplomat called on the rival sides in the ongoing crisis in neighboring Afghanistan to end the war as soon as possible and pave the way for the development of their war-ravaged country.

The Afghan government team was led by Yunus Qanouni and the Taliban by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai in the Tehran talks. 

Stanikzai is the head of the Taliban's political office in Doha.

Praising both delegations for prioritizing peace and well-being of the Afghan people in the talks, Foreign Minister Zarif said Iran is ready to facilitate a continuation of talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

“The Islamic Republic is always ready to facilitate the continuation of your talks in any way you wish,” Zarif stressed.

“Both sides agree war is not a solution, condemn war on hospitals, mosques, state offices”

At the end of the meeting, the two Afghan delegates issued a joint statement thanking Iran for its efforts to restore peace to Afghanistan.

Acknowledging the risks resulting from continued war and the damage it would inflict on the country, the two sides agreed that war was not a solution to the Afghan crisis and that all efforts needed to be directed towards reaching a political and peaceful solution.

Moreover, the warring parties described the Tehran meeting as a new opportunity to reinforce the political solution to the Afghan crisis.

The two sides strongly condemned attacks that target people's homes, government offices, mosques and hospitals as well as the destruction of public institutions, and called for the perpetrators to be punished.

“Intra-Afghan talks is successful”

Rasoul Mousavi, the director general of the West Asia department at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, on Thursday called the talks in Tehran between the Afghan government and the Taliban “successful”. 

“I believe that the Tehran intra-Afghan session was a successful meeting. The document for my claim is the declaration by the meeting in which the two sides strongly condemned attacks on schools, hospitals… and government buildings (clause 6) and considered the Tehran session as a new opportunity for political solution in Afghanistan (clause 5,” Mousavi tweeted.

Zarif: ‘Iran stands with our Afghan brethren’

Writing on his Twitter page late on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Zarif said Iran is happy to host talks between the representatives from the Afghan government and the Taliban, calling them Iran’s “brethren”.

“Honored to be host of cordial & substantive dialog between senior Afghan reps. As foreign forces leave Afghanistan, no impediment remains for Afghans of all political stripes to chart a peaceful & prosperous future for the next generation. Iran stands with our Afghan brethren,” Zarif tweeted.

 “Iran a reliable friend to Afghanistan”

In tweet on Thursday, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the special advisor to the Iranian Parliament speaker on international affairs, also hailed Tehran for hosting the intra-Afghan talks, saying, "Iran proves it's a reliable friend, brother, neighbor to Afghanistan."

Iran has on several occasions reaffirmed its support for measures and talks aimed at establishing peace and ending the conflict in the war-battered Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan crisis has been a major concern for neighbors including Iran. Ali Rabiei, the Iranian government spokesman, said on June 29 that the Taliban is part of Afghanistan and a part of its future solution.

“What is important for us is the formation of an inclusive government with the presence of all Afghan groups and the achievement of a peaceful and lasting solution in this country,” he noted.

Rabie added that the Islamic Republic is closely monitoring developments in Afghanistan and is following the recent moves with concern. 

“While calling on all parties to calm down, we do not consider the use of violence and non-peaceful behaviors useful in resolving disputes, and we will continue our consultations with Kabul to end unconstructive conflicts and replace dialogue and engagement with the participation of all influential political groups,” the spokesman underlined.

Rabiei said the Islamic Republic continues to urge all countries not to interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. 

“Our mission is to communicate with the Afghan government and provide any necessary assistance,” Rabiei highlighted.

Tehran’s hosting of the Afghan talks comes as the U.S. military is completing the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan.

The U.S. Central Command has announced that the American withdrawal from the country, ordered in April by President Joe Biden, was now more than 90 percent complete.

Since the U.S. started the formal withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan in May, Taliban militants have intensified attacks across the country.

The official spokesman for the Taliban's political office in Doha, Mohammad Naim, has claimed that their forces have captured about 85 percent of the Afghan territory.

In an interview with Sputnik, Naim also said the Taliban will pose no threat to Afghanistan’s neighbors.

“We give assurances to all neighbors that relative calm will be established in all our borders.”

Taliban fighters have seized control of a key district in western Afghanistan that includes an important border crossing with Iran, Afghan security officials said, as the armed group continues its rapid military advances around the country.

In the last week, the Taliban has overrun areas bordering five countries – Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, China and Pakistan – as foreign forces end their 20-year intervention and the domestic security situation deteriorates.

Al Alalam TV, Iran’s official Arabic language service, also reported that Afghan soldiers had entered Iranian territory via the border crossing to escape the Taliban.

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