Date :Saturday, January 5th, 2019 | Time : 22:39 |ID: 82745 | Print

Tehran-Kabul meetings to establish peace process in Afghanistan

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SHAFAQNA | Nasibeh Yazdani – On December 31, Iran confirmed that it has hosted a delegation from the Taliban to discuss possible ways to end hostilities in Afghanistan. Afterward, several meetings were held in Tehran and Kabul in order to establish peace process in Afghanistan.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Foreign Affairs, Abbas Araqchi and Afghanistan’s President, Ashraf Ghani discussed bilateral ties and the outcome of Iran-Taliban talks in Tehran last week.

Abbas Araghchi, the Iran’s deputy foreign minister, arrived in Kabul on Saturday and met with his Afghan counterpart Edris Zaman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul.

Later, Araghchi and his delegation also met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the Arg (presidential palace), yenisafak reported.

During the meeting on Saturday, Iranian official briefed Afghan president on recent talks between Iranian and Taliban officials which was held in Tehran and reiterated Iran’s commitment to a peace process which is led by Afghan government, according to Afghanistan’s TOLO News.

Araghchi and Ghani stress the need for closer coordination between the Afghan and Iranian government for the efforts to restore peace to the war-torn country bear fruits, ifpnews reported.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran supports the Afghan government and the peace talks under the leadership of the Afghans,” Araqchi said in a meeting with Afghanistan’s Chief Executive, Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul on Saturday.

Araqchi’s trip, the second visit to Afghanistan in three months, comes amid increasing efforts for the peace process in Afghanistan.

Back in September, Araqchi visited Afghanistan and met with a number of high-ranking officials of the neighboring country, including Chief Executive of Afghanistan, Abdullah Abdullah.

During the Saturday’s meeting, Iranian and Afghan officials also discussed further cooperation in Iranian Chabahar Port, Iran Daily reported.

Tehran Held Talks With Taliban

On December 31, Iran confirmed that it has hosted a delegation from the Taliban to discuss possible ways to end hostilities in Afghanistan.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Qassemi said that the extensive meetings between Araqchi and the group on December 30 were coordinated with the government of Afghanistan.

“Since the Taliban are in control of more than 50 percent of Afghanistan, and given the insecurity, instability and other issues that the country is dealing with, they [the Taliban] were interested in talks with Iran,” Qassemi said, according to IRNA.

He said Iran has long borders with Afghanistan and always sought a constructive role to maintain peace in the region.

Taliban also confirmed their representatives visited Tehran on issues around peace and security in Afghanistan.

“The delegation visited Tehran to share Taliban’s views on ‘post-occupation’ scenario and establishment of peace and security in Afghanistan and the region with Iranian officials,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for Taliban, said in a statement on Jan. 1.

Iran as Pillar of security in the region 

The Tehran meetings came days after Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani during a one-day visit to Afghanistan confirmed that series of contacts and talks with the Taliban group had taken place with the knowledge of the Afghan government.

Ali Shamkhani said that Tehran is engaged in negotiations with Taliban to help settle the existing security problems in Afghanistan, and will continue with these negotiations in the future.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Shamkhani emphasized the need to establish “mechanisms based on constant consultations” and “the active participation of regional countries in security processes” to guarantee sustainable stability and growth for regional nations.

During a meeting with the National Security Adviser of Afghanistan, Hamdullah Mohib in Kabul, Iran’s top security official said “A series of contacts and negotiations between Iran and the Taliban have been held with the full knowledge of the Afghan government, and this process will continue.” , Iran press reported.

Mohib, for his part, said the Islamic Republic had always been “one of the main pillars of security in the region.”

“The cooperation of the two countries will undoubtedly be very effectual in resolving Afghanistan’s current security problems,” he said.

There was no military solution to Afghanistan

Addressing the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan on November 28 , Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the international community to facilitate “inclusive” dialogue between the Taliban and the Afghan government in a bid to restore peace to the war-torn country.

Zarif, who in a previous capacity famously helped with the establishment of a post-invasion government in Afghanistan in the Bonn conference in 2001, said in the Geneva conference that there was no military solution to Afghanistan and that the time had come for national reconciliation.

“The presence of foreign forces has never brought stability in our region and has historically provided a recruiting ground for extremists,” Zarif said, referring to the long-time presence of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, which has failed to restore security to the country 17 years after the US invasion, albawaba reported.

U.S presence in Afghanistan has had no result other than war and insecurity

About 18 years of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan at the top of a military coalition has brought nothing but chaos and insecurity to the country as a result of which all forms of organized crime, especially production of illicit drugs, have been skyrocketing. The country has also turned into a hotbed of violent acts by major terror outfits, especially Daesh.

According to the neoconservative Council on Foreign Relations, the Taliban controlled 90 percent of Afghanistan in 2001, prior to the US invasion. After 17 years, the Taliban still contests some 50 percent of the country and controls an additional 13 percent, according to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, another neoconservative think tank in Washington.

Last week, US Department of Defense officials reportedly confirmed that US President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of 7,000 US soldiers from the country, just shy of half of the 14,000-strong uniformed US presence in Afghanistan, sputniknews reported.

Shamkhani said regional nations are impatiently waiting for a full withdrawal of U.S. forces from the region because their presence has had no result other than “war and insecurity”, tehrantimes told.

Daesh expansion a serious threat

Most analysts believe that Iran’s effort to get the Taliban to accept peace with the Afghan government is aimed at preventing further growth of other terrorist groups, especially Daesh, in the war-ravaged country.

Following its defeat in Iraq and Syria, Daesh terrorists have been shifting attention to Afghanistan during past month, making the country a new center of their atrocious acts of terrorism in a bid to sow more insecurity across the whole region.

Shamkhani described the threat of the expansion of the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh in Afghanistan as “serious.” He called for practical measures to stop that from happening, press tv reported.

 

Read more from Shafaqna:

Saudi Arabia to host third round of Taliban peace talks

WITHDRAWAL OF US TROOPS FROM AFGHANISTAN AFFECTS PEACE PROCESS IN KABUL

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