1226 GMT December 16, 2019
“Recently, within the framework of the comprehensive consultations of the Islamic Republic of Iran with all parties in Afghanistan, a political delegation from the Taliban traveled to our country to exchange views with the relevant Iranian officials about the latest developments in Afghanistan,” the spokesman was quoted as saying on the ministry’s official website.
Earlier reports suggested that members of Taliban's Qatar-based political bureau held talks with Iranian officials on the latest developments of the Afghan peace process, including the breakdown of US-Taliban negotiations.
The delegation has reportedly conferred with a number of political and Foreign Ministry officials of Iran on the Afghan peace talks and the intra-Afghan negotiations.
The visit to the Iranian capital was the second such trip of the Taliban delegation following the collapse of its talks with the United States. The Afghan group had also earlier visited Moscow, Russia.
A senior Taliban figure in Qatar, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said earlier that “the purpose of these visits is to inform leaders of these countries about the peace talks and [US] President [Donald] Trump’s decision to call off the peace process at a time when both sides had resolved all outstanding issues and were about to sign a peace agreement," according to Reuters.
US President Donald Trump canceled high-level talks with the group last week, citing a deadly bomb blast in Kabul that also left an American soldier dead.
“They thought that to kill people in order to put themselves in a little better negotiating position when they did that they killed 12 people … And you can’t do that can’t do that with me. So they’re dead as far as I’m concerned," he said.
The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext of war on terror. Some 18 years on, Taliban has even managed to boost its campaign of violence across the country, leading Washington to seek truce with the militant group.
After nine rounds of negotiations in the Qatari capital of Doha, which began in October 2018, American and Taliban officials agreed on a draft accord that would have seen some 5,000 US troops withdrawn from Afghanistan in exchange for security guarantees from the Taliban.
However, Trump called off the talks in a move that surprised Taliban leaders.
The group said that an agreement had been “finalized” and that discussions had ended in “a good atmosphere,” but the deal had been sabotaged by Trump.