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Iran says reduces staff in Afghanistan missions; diplomats in good conditions

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)
The file photo shows the building of Iran's embassy in Kabul.

The spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry says the country’s embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul is still active, but has reduced the number of its personnel as Taliban forces are poised to take over the capital city of the war-ravaged country.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday evening, Saeed Khatibzadeh said, “The Iranian embassy in Kabul has reduced its personnel and a number of them have returned to the country without reduction harming essential activities of the Iranian mission.”

As for other Iranian diplomatic missions in Afghanistan, the spokesman said, “Out of the five Iranian missions in Afghanistan, including in Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad, Herat and Kandahar, our staff had left three missions in Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad and Kandahar a while ago and continued their work in Kabul.”

“Of course, we had decided not to announce the closure of these missions and at the present time, those premises are staffed only by guards and a few local employees,” Khatibzadeh said.

As for Iran’s consulate general in Herat, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said, “Our diplomats are in good conditions and have no problem for getting back to Iran, but it was decided that they should stay at the mission for now.”

Khatibzadeh’s remarks came after Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rejected war and violence as a solution to the existing problems in the neighboring Afghanistan, reiterating Iran’s support for the establishment of sustainable peace in the war-hit country.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue its efforts to [help realize] reconciliation in Afghanistan,” the top diplomat added.

Also on Sunday, informed security sources dismissed rumors that there have been clashes between the Taliban militants and Iranian border guards, saying there exists no problem at Iran’s borders with Afghanistan.

The security sources, who talked to Tasnim news agency on the condition of anonymity, said that no hostilities or clashes have broken out between the Taliban and Iranian border guards at the Islam Qala border crossing.

However, they said one of the members of the Taliban had mistakenly entered the Iranian soil and was handed back to the Taliban after being informed about the country’s border laws.


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