TEHRAN (Iran News) – Iran’s special envoy reassures Afghanistan of Tehran’s supports. Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian, the special representative of the Iranian Foreign Ministry for Afghanistan, and his accompanying delegation met with Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar in Kabul on Monday, discussing the latest developments surrounding Afghanistan.
Taherian assured the Afghan foreign minister of Tehran’s support for the peace process in Afghanistan while maintaining the achievements the Afghans have made over the past two decades.
The special envoy also called for further cooperation between Kabul and Tehran in various areas, including border cooperation and coordination between different sectors.
According to the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Atmar said he appreciates the reasonable stances of Iran in supporting peace efforts, ending violence, putting an end to arbitrary killings and torture of civilians, and human rights violations in the territories captured by the Taliban.
Atmar also said that the presence of the Taliban and the escalation of violence by the group will lead to a spread of extremism and the presence of international terrorist groups, including ISIS, in Afghanistan and regional countries.
Foreign Minister Atmar also said political, economic, cultural, and trade cooperation between Kabul and Tehran is an urgent need and called for strengthening cooperation in various fields, especially in brokering peace between the government and the Taliban.
Iran tries to broker peace between parties in Afghanistan
Fighting between the Taliban and Afghan government forces has increased over the past two months as foreign troops pull out of the country.
The Taliban is thought to have captured up to half of all territory.
As U.S. forces have withdrawn, the Taliban have made rapid gains, retaking border crossings and rural areas.
The Taliban, who were pushed out of power by the U.S. invasion nearly 20 years ago, have also seized key roads as they seek to cut off supply routes.
According to the BBC, their fighters have been closing in on a number of major cities, but have not yet been able to capture one.
The Afghan government imposed a month-long curfew across almost all of the country on Saturday in a bid to stop the Taliban from invading cities.
The curfew bans all movement from 22:00 to 04:00 (17:30-23:30 GMT), apart from in the capital Kabul and two other provinces.
The Interior Ministry said the new curfew was “to curb violence and limit the Taliban movements”, adding that Kabul, Panjshir, and Nangarhar were exempt.
Facing turmoil in neighboring Afghanistan, Iran has tried to broker peace by getting the warring sides of Afghanistan to sit together at the table and discuss ways to put an end to hostilities.
To this end, Iran hosted a meeting between a Taliban delegation and a group of figures who support the republican system on July 7 and 8. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who led the talks, urged both sides to show courage in making peace.
“Courage in peace is more important than courage in war because peace needs sacrifice and forgiveness, needs ignoring one’s maximal demands, and paying attention to the other side’s demands, especially in these talks where there is no other side, and both sides are brothers seeking peace and calm for the Afghan nation,” Zarif told the Afghan participants.
The Iranian foreign minister added, “What I ask you is that use this opportunity and end the war in Afghanistan as soon as possible, and provide the Afghan people with the chance to develop.”
He also voiced Iran’s readiness to facilitate peace talks. “The Islamic Republic of Iran is always ready to facilitate your talks in any way you prefer,” he pointed out.
The recent talks were the second time Iran officially host a delegation from the Taliban, a group with which Iran has avoided talking given its track record of bad relations with Iran when it was in power. The history of Iran-Taliban relations carries a lot of antagonistic baggage, most notably due to the group’s anti-Shia leanings and its killing of Iranian diplomats in Mazar-i-Sharif in 1998, which brought Iran and the Taliban-led Afghanistan close to an all-out war.