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Taliban delegation arrives in Tehran for talks on Afghan peace with top Iranian officials

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file picture, the Taliban delegation arrives for intra-Afghan peace negotiations in Doha, Qatar.

A high-ranking Taliban delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the group’s top political leader, is visiting Iran for talks on the Afghan peace process and relevant topics.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the Taliban political delegation had arrived in Tehran on Tuesday morning at the invitation of the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Khatibzadeh added that Taliban representatives are set to meet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Iran’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian, among other officials, during their visit.

The Taliban’s delegates have paid several visits to Iran over the past months.

Iran strongly supports the realization of peace and stability in neighboring Afghanistan, which has been embroiled in decades of militancy fueled by foreign military intervention.

Accordingly, the Islamic Republic has been closely following the peace negotiations underway since last September between the Afghan government and the Taliban in the Qatari capital Doha, where the Taliban run a political bureau.

Given the religious, cultural, linguistic and historical commonalities of the two neighbors, Iran believes the stability, socio-cultural development and economic growth of both nations are intertwined, repeatedly expressing its willingness to help the Afghan government in that regard.

The intra-Afghan talks started after the United States agreed to withdraw12,000 US troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban’s halting of their attacks on international forces under a deal between the two sides in February 2020.

The deal was intended to result in the reduction of bloodshed, but violence continues to take a heavy toll in the country.

In recent months, deadly attacks and high-profile assassinations have seen a rise in Afghanistan. The Taliban have denied responsibility for the killings, but Afghan and US officials have pinned the blame on the group.

Despite the ongoing talks between Kabul and the Taliban, the administration of newly-elected US President Joe Biden has said it would review the peace deal reached last year.

The US first invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the banner of fighting “terrorism.” The invasion toppled the Taliban, but the group has never stopped its attacks, citing the foreign military presence as one of the main reasons behind its continued militancy.


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