Iran FM, ex-Afghan president discuss Afghanistan 

September 8, 2021 - 19:45

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan with former Afghan president Hamed Karzai during a phone call on Tuesday. 

The top Iranian diplomat said it is the Islamic Republic’s principled stance to support dialog among all groups in Afghanistan to form an inclusive government which reflects the ethnic and demographic makeup of the country and added, “This is the only way for Afghanistan to reach lasting peace,” according to a statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry. 

Abdollahian said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran wants Afghanistan to be free from war and terrorism.” He added that the Islamic Republic will keep its border crossings with Afghanistan open to ease the current situation in the country and will continue to trade with Afghanistan.

The Iranian foreign minister noted that the U.S. policies during the past two decades are to blame for the current chaotic situation in Afghanistan. He said the Afghan people are determined that this situation has to end.

Hamed Karzai also said during the phone call that eminent figures of Afghanistan do their utmost to overcome this situation, adding that the main goal is the realization of the Afghan people’s will.

He thanked Iran for its stances and efforts. The former Afghan president said he and other elders are engaged in negotiations with different groups including the Taliban and want the Islamic Republic to continue its assistance to facilitate the process.

The phone conversation came hours before the Taliban announced its caretaker cabinet, which was met with unease in Tehran. Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Admiral Ali Shamkhani said on Twitter, “Afghanistan's first priority is stability & peace. Ignoring the need for inclusive government, foreign intervention and the use of military means instead of dialogue to meet the demands of ethnic groups and social groups are the main concerns of the friends of the Afghan people.”

Earlier this week, Head of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah spoke over the phone with Abdollahian. He called on Iran to send humanitarian aid to Afghanistan amid Taliban-led deliberations to form a new government.

In a phone call on Sunday, Abdullah thanked Iran for defending the Afghan people, according to a statement by the Iranian foreign ministry.

The request by the top Afghan figure was submitted during a phone conversation with Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian.

Abdullah also congratulated Abdollahian on his appointment as the Islamic Republic’s foreign minister.

During the conversation, Abdullah also spoke of the dire situation in Afghanistan and called on Iran to send humanitarian aid to his country, the statement added.

The two sides agreed on the need to fight the heinous phenomenon of terrorism. They also discussed the formation of an inclusive government with the participation of all Afghan ethnic groups and factions. They also reaffirmed their position that it’s only up to the Afghan people to determine their country’s future.

On Sunday, Afghanistan’s neighbors held talks over the situation in the country during a teleconference. Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian, an advisor to Iran’s foreign minister and the country’s special envoy for Afghanistan told his counterparts from other neighbors of the war-torn country that peace can only be achieved there through the formation of an inclusive government with the participation of all Afghan groups.

Taherian underlined the need to end the ordeal of the Afghan people.

Taherian also referred to the three-way phone conversation between the foreign ministers of Iran, Russia and China over the upcoming virtual meeting involving the chief diplomats of Afghanistan’s neighbors, proposed to be held on Wednesday, September 8th. He expressed hope that the foreign ministers send a clear and strong message, reaffirming their support for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

Iran has called on the Afghans to avoid violence and resolve their disputes through dialogue. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh has called on the Afghans to avoid violence and resolve their differences through dialogue amid ongoing clashes in the Panjshir Valley between the Taliban and resistance groups led by Ahamd Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud who was assassinated in a terrorist attack on September 9, 2001.

However, after weeks of strictly sticking to a line of neutrality, Khatibzadeh struck a note of warning about the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on Monday.

Speaking at a weekly press briefing, Khatibzadeh warned about foreign meddling in Panjshir, the last stronghold of opposition against the new order led by Ahmad Massoud who is the son of legendary anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud. Khatibzadeh also strongly condemned the Taliban attack on the valley and described the death of opposition leaders there as “martyrdom,” a major indication of Iranian resentment at the Taliban’s inchoate political deliberations to form a government.

The remarks came on the same day a Taliban spokesman announced that the group’s forces “conquered” the provincial capital of Panjshir. Taliban media also circulated video footage showing Taliban forces posing in front of Panjshir’s governor-general office and raising the flag of what came to be known as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Responding to a question about Pakistani involvement in the battle for Panjshir, Khatibzadeh said, “The news coming out of Panjshir is concerning. Last night’s attacks [on Panjshir] are condemned in the strongest terms. Martyrdom of Afghan leaders is deeply regrettable.”

Khatibzadeh said Iran was reviewing the reports of foreign intervention. “This should be reviewed,” he asserted. 

Khatibzadeh pointed out, “Afghanistan’s history shows that foreign intervention, both direct and indirect, has resulted in nothing but defeat for the aggressor force, and the Afghan people are independence-seeking and zealous, and certainly any intervention is doomed,” he said.

The Panjshir issue must be resolved through dialogue, with the mediation and presence of all Afghan elders, Khatibzadeh underlined amid reports of the Taliban advance into the valley. 

The spokesman noted, “Neither side should allow this path to lead to fratricide. The Taliban must abide by its own obligations under international law and its own obligations by whatever it says. Starving the people of Panjshir, besieging the Panjshir region, cutting off water and electricity in this region is a matter of concern.”

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