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Iran, India call for all-inclusive intra-Afghan talks to resolve Afghanistan crisis

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)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar pose for a photo before their meeting in Tehran on July 7, 2021.

The Iranian and Indian foreign ministers have underlined the need for the promotion of intra-Afghan talks that will culminate in inclusive political participation of all parties in Afghanistan.

Mohammad Javad Zarif and Subrahmanyam Jaishankar made the call during a meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.

The Indian minister pointed to the ongoing talks between representatives of the Kabul government and the Taliban group in Tehran, and thanked Iran for its efforts to bring the two sides closer to a comprehensive political solution. 

In addition to issues of bilateral interest, the latest developments in the region, the Vienna talks aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, transport and communications cooperation, including in the development of Chabahar port in southeastern Iran, and convergence among regional countries were among other topics discussed between the two officials.      

Tehran is hosting intra-Afghan talks between senior Taliban negotiators led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the head of Taliban’s political office in Qatar’s Doha, and officials from the Afghan government headed by former Vice President of Afghanistan Yunus Qanuni.

Taliban’s spokesman Mohammed Naeem Wardak said via Twitter that the militant group’s trip to Tehran comes at the official invitation of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Opening the talks, Zarif said the Islamic Republic stands ready to help the neighboring country resolve its conflicts and achieve lasting peace.

He pointed to the United States’ “defeat” in Afghanistan, saying the US military’s more than two decades of presence on Afghan soil has brought about “widespread destruction.”

Zarif called on the warring parties in Afghanistan to return to the negotiating table, calling "commitment to political solutions the best option” for the country’s leaders and political movements.

Iran has on several occasions reaffirmed its support for measures and talks aimed at establishing peace and ending the conflict in war-battered Afghanistan.

Tehran’s hosting of the Afghan talks comes as the US military is completing the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.

The US Central Command has announced that the American withdrawal from the country, ordered in April by President Joe Biden, was now more than 90 percent complete.

Since the US started the formal withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan in May, Taliban militants have intensified attacks across the country. According to the Pentagon, they are now in control of more than 100 of Afghanistan’s 419 district centers.

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