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Iran’s Zarif meets Taliban, calls for inclusive government

January 31, 2021 at 3:01 pm

Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar speaks during the opening session of the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in the Qatari capital Doha on September 12, 2020 [KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images]

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Sunday called for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, during talks with a visiting Taliban delegation in Tehran, Anadolu Agency reports.

Speaking during the meeting, Zarif said the formation of an all-inclusive government in Afghanistan must see the participation of all ethnic and political groups in the war-ravaged country.

“Political decisions cannot be made in a vacuum, and the formation of an all-inclusive government must take place in a participatory process and by taking into account fundamental structures, institutions, and laws, such as the Constitution (of Afghanistan),” he said in a statement.

The chief diplomat also expressed Iran’s readiness to facilitate dialogue between the Afghan government, Taliban, and other Afghan groups, saying that the people of Afghanistan “have been wronged”.

READ: Taliban delegation arrives in Iran for Afghan peace talks

The Taliban delegation, led by the group’s deputy leader Mullah Ghani Baradar, arrived in Tehran on Tuesday upon an invitation from Iran for talks with Iranian officials.

On Wednesday, they held talks with Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, during which Shamkhani accused the United States of “creating a deadlock” in the intra-Afghan peace talks.

Iran’s top security official called for the “involvement of all Afghan groups” to determine the fate of their country, saying Tehran will “not recognise” any group that seeks to “seize power through war”.

The visit of the Taliban delegation to Iran comes amidst a second round of intra-Afghan talks in Doha, which resumed earlier this month and has failed to make headway, even as violence peaks in Afghanistan.

Iran’s contacts with the Taliban have increased in recent years, with the group’s senior leaders frequently visiting Tehran and holding deliberations with Iranian officials.

Iran has in recent years backed Taliban’s inclusion in Afghanistan’s future political structure, and repeatedly called for the ouster of US forces from the country.

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