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Taliban Delegation Meets with Iran’s Zarif in Tehran

A delegation from Afghanistan’s Taliban that is visiting Iran for the second time since the US-Taliban talks broke down in September held talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The delegation, led by the Taliban’s chief negotiator Mullah Baradar, met with Zarif on Tuesday night, the Afghan group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on his Twitter account.  

At the meeting, Zarif is reported to have emphasized the need for US troops to withdraw from Afghanistan and highlighted the importance of launching Afghan-Afghan talks and forming a comprehensive and inclusive government in the war-hit country. 

Speaking to reporters back in December 2018, the then Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said considering that 50 percent of the Afghan territories are in control of the Taliban and given the insecurity and instability in that country, Iran and the Taliban have held negotiations, albeit with the knowledge of the Kabul government.

He said the main purpose of the talks was contributing to dialogue among Afghan groups and the Kabul government in order to move forward with the peace process.

“Iran, as a neighbor and major regional player, was willing to play an important role in establishing stability in Afghanistan after negotiations with the Kabul government,” Qassemi said at the time.

He explained that the talks with the Taliban would not mean Iran has identical stances with the group, saying it was necessary to start the negotiations to see if it is possible to contribute to the dialogue between the Taliban and Kabul.

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