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Iran’s Zarif to Afghan delegates: End war as soon as possible to pave way for development of country

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (C) addresses the final session of intra-Afghan talks hosted in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on July 8, 2021. (Photo by IRNA)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has advised all political sides involved in the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan to end the war as soon as possible and pave the way for the development of the war-ravaged country.

Zarif made the remarks on Thursday while addressing the final session of intra-Afghan talks hosted in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

“A nation who has been suffering for 40 years has every right to be opposed to war. What I want from you is to take advantage of this opportunity and end the war in Afghanistan as soon as possible to provide the people of Afghanistan with an opportunity for development,” Iran’s top diplomat said.

“The Islamic Republic is always ready to facilitate the continuation of your talks in any way you wish,” Zarif stressed.

Expressing gratitude to both delegations for prioritizing peace and well-being of the Afghan people in the talks, the Iranian foreign minister said, “Showing courage in peace is more important than showing courage in war; because to achieve peace, one must sacrifice and forgive and ignore maximum demands and [instead] heed the demands of the other side, especially in these negotiations where ... both sides are brothers and in pursuit of peace and well-being of the Afghan nation.”

At the end of the meeting, the two Afghan delegates issued a joint statement in which they thanked Iran’s efforts to restore peace to Afghanistan.

Having acknowledged the risks emanating from continued war and the damage it would inflict on the country, the two sides agreed that war was not a solution to the issue of Afghanistan and that all efforts needed to be directed towards reaching a political and peaceful solution.

Moreover, the warring parties described the Tehran meeting as a new opportunity to reinforce the political solution to the Afghan crisis.

The two sides strongly condemned attacks that target people's homes, government offices, mosques and hospitals as well as the destruction of public institutions, and called for the perpetrators to be punished.

Amid the escalation of fighting in Afghanistan, Tehran hosted on Wednesday four delegations, including representatives of the Afghan government and parliament, the Taliban group and prominent figures supporting the Republic system in the war-torn country.

The Afghan government’s delegation was headed by former Vice President of Afghanistan Yunus Qanuni, and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the head of Taliban’s political office in Qatar’s Doha, also led the militant group's delegation to Tehran.

'Iran a reliable friend to Afghanistan'

In tweet on Thursday, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf’s special advisor on international affairs, hailed Tehran's hosting of intra-Afghan talks aimed at seeking peace and stability in the war-ravage country, and said, "Iran proves it's a reliable friend, brother, neighbor to Afghanistan."

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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