Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Iran Supports Inclusive Afghan Government As Tehran Improves Ties With Taliban

Iran has confirmed that it fully supports the Afghan Peace Process and asserted that the country fully backs the formation of an “inclusive government” with the hope of attaining peace and stability in the war-torn nation.

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“Iran wants Afghanistan to be a safe, peaceful and stable neighbor along its eastern borders,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said during his weekly briefing.

The decision comes after the historic US-Taliban peace deal followed by a massive internal political squabble between President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. Both the leaders had held their own ceremonies and formed parallel governments with Abdullah refusing to recognize Ghani.

Speaking about Iran’s efforts to bring peace and stability to the country while respecting Afghanistan’s government interests, the spokesman also said that Iran will help establish an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

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Highlighting the fact that their neighbors have always been their priority, Mousavi said this was a crucial and an important decision to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan.

All the recent political happenings of the country were discussed and developments were reviewed in a meeting held on Sunday which included the representative of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Mohammad Ebrahim Taherianfard and some of Kabul’s high-rank officials.

Taliban, who look set to share power with the current Afghan government, have been in a constant state of rivalry with Iran due to ideological differences and a bitter political history.

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Many instances of the rivalry exist in history one among which dates back to September 1996, when the Taliban took over and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Kabul which was welcomed by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, but not by Tehran.

In yet another incidence in 1998, the Taliban allegedly killed 10 Iranian diplomats in Mazar-e-Sharif which almost provoked Tehran to invade Afghanistan. The plan to invade Afghanistan was later dropped when Tehran found that the members of Sipah-e-Sahaba, an anti-Shia militant organization with close connections to the Pakistan Army, were behind the killings. 

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Ever since, Iran’s growing ties with the Taliban has been marked by an uncertain mixture of restrained support and containment, as Tehran has attempted to use the armed group as a strategic tool to obstruct the US war effort in Afghanistan and ensure the US military presence in Iran’s backyard remains challenged and fruitless.  

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