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Zarif says Iran ready to help Afghanistan restore stability

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (3rd R) and his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Hanif Atmar (C-L) meet on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey on June 18, 2021. (Photo by IRNA)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic is ready to play an effective role in restoring stability to Afghanistan.

The Iranian foreign minister made the remarks in a meeting with his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Hanif Atmar on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey on Friday.

Zarif stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation among all political groups in Afghanistan to restore stable security in the country.

He expressed Iran’s readiness to hold a session of the two countries’ joint economic commission as soon as possible.

Atmar, for his part, thanked Iran for dispatching medical and health assistance to Afghanistan and called for the continuation of such an interaction, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Afghan foreign minister pointed to the latest security situation in his country and said Kabul is ready to cooperate with Tehran to improve border security and hold a session of the joint commission at the earliest.

Violence has surged across Afghanistan since the United States missed a withdrawal deadline it had agreed with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, last year.

All foreign troops were supposed to have been withdrawn by May 1, but US President Joe Biden pushed that date back to September 11. The decision caused intra-Afghan peace talks — between the Taliban and Kabul — to be suspended.

The Taliban warned that the passing of the May 1 deadline for a complete withdrawal “opened the way for” the militants to take every counteraction they deemed appropriate against foreign forces in the country.

Fighting is now raging in 26 of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan.

A wave of assassinations has also hit the nation, many of them targeting government employees, health workers, media and civil society members.

Earlier in the day, the Iranian foreign minister held separate meetings with High Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell as well as his Venezuelan and Croatian foreign ministers Jorge Arreaza and Gordan Grlić Radman, respectively.

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