Iran insists talks is only solution to Afghan crisis

July 17, 2021 - 12:8

TEHRAN — Tehran is insistent on its position the crisis in neighboring Afghanistan must be resolved through negotiations, a senior Iranian diplomat said on Thursday.

Rasoul Mousavi, the director of the Western Asia Department at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, made the remarks in a meeting with Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Commissioner for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan (HCNR). 

At the meeting in Kabul, the Iranian diplomat emphasized that Tehran is in favor of a negotiated solution to the crisis in Afghanistan. 

Iran supports efforts to resolve the crisis through dialogue, Mousavi added. 

He also noted that the Iranian people and government are in favor of ending the long war in Afghanistan, according to IRNA. 

Abdullah expressed his appreciation for Iran's support of the Afghan peace process and highlighted the importance of cooperation among the countries of the region to ensure peace and stability in his country. 

War is not the solution, emphasized the senior Afghan peace negotiator, adding that neither side can benefit from the ongoing conflict in the country. 

He also said that the Afghan government has always called for a peaceful settlement of differences and has kept its promises, but will not allow anyone to impose their will on Kabul. 

The security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated in recent months as the Taliban has occupied many areas in the country. 

The Kabul government launched a "national mobilization" in response, arming local volunteers and resurrecting militias to fight the Taliban. 

Iranian officials insist that the Afghan crisis must be resolved through politics and negotiations and that the peace process must include all Afghan groups without any foreign interference.

In its relentless efforts to broker peace between the Afghan government and the Taliban, Iran hosted high-ranking Afghan delegates comprising of the Taliban and government representatives in Tehran on July 8 and 9.

Addressing the opening of the intra-Afghan talks, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif pointed to the U.S. failure in Afghanistan after 20 years of invasion and said it is essential that Afghans take “tough decisions” for the future of their nation. 

“Today the people and political leaders of Afghanistan must take tough decisions for the future of their country,” Zarif told the delegates. 

Zarif warned that the continuation of conflicts between the government and the Taliban will have “unfavorable” consequences for Afghanistan, noting that a return to the intra-Afghan negotiations is the “best solution”. 

Zarif also said Iran is firm to wholeheartedly help Afghanistan politically and economically after the establishment of peace in the country.

The high-ranking political delegation representing the Afghan government was headed by Yunus Qanouni and the Taliban team by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai. 

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

Writing on his Twitter page, 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.

However, the situation on the ground does seem promising.  

The Taliban claimed recently that their fighters had retaken 85% of the country - a figure disputed by the government and impossible to verify independently.

Other estimates say the Taliban controls somewhere between a third and half of Afghanistan's 400 districts. On Thursday, Afghan forces said they had recaptured a key border crossing with Pakistan that had been taken by the Taliban. The insurgents denied having lost control of the post.

SA/PA
 

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