Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi and Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani discussed bilateral ties and development in peace talks with Taliban.
During the meeting held in Afghanistan’s capital on Saturday, Iranian official briefed Afghan president on recent talks between Iranian and Taliban officials which was held in Tehran and reiterated Iran’s commitment to a peace process which is led by Afghan government, according to Afghanistan’s TOLO News.
On December 31, Iran confirmed that it has hosted a delegation from the Taliban to discuss possible ways to end hostilities in Afghanistan.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said that the extensive meetings between Araqchi and the group on December 30 were coordinated with the government of Afghanistan.
“Since the Taliban are in control of more than 50 percent of Afghanistan, and given the insecurity, instability and other issues that the country is dealing with, they [the Taliban] were interested in talks with Iran,” Qassemi said, according to IRNA.
He said Iran has long borders with Afghanistan and always sought a constructive role to maintain peace in the region.
The Tehran meetings came days after Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani during a one-day visit to Afghanistan confirmed that series of contacts and talks with the Taliban group had taken place with the knowledge of the Afghan government.
Taliban also confirmed their representatives visited Tehran on issues around peace and security in Afghanistan.
“The delegation visited Tehran to share Taliban’s views on ‘post-occupation’ scenario and establishment of peace and security in Afghanistan and the region with Iranian officials,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for Taliban, said in a statement on Jan. 1.
Araqchi’s trip, the second visit to Afghanistan in three months, comes amid increasing efforts for the peace process in Afghanistan.
Back in September, Araqchi visited Afghanistan and met with a number of high-ranking officials of the neighboring country, including Chief Executive of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah.
Most analysts believe that Iran's effort to get the Taliban to accept peace with the Afghan government is aimed at preventing further growth of other terrorist groups, especially Daesh, in the war-ravaged country.
Following its defeat in Iraq and Syria, Daesh terrorists have been shifting attention to Afghanistan during past month, making the country a new center of their atrocious acts of terrorism in a bid to sow more insecurity across the whole region.
About 18 years of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan at the top of a military coalition has brought nothing but chaos and insecurity to the country as a result of which all forms of organized crime, especially production of illicit drugs, have been skyrocketing. The country has also turned into a hotbed of violent acts by major terror outfits, especially Daesh.
During the Saturday’s meeting, Iranian and Afghan officials also discussed further cooperation in Iranian Chabahar Port.