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“Excluding Afghan sides in peace talks not acceptable”

AT Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined the need for all Afghan groups to participate in peace talks, calling on foreign sides to allow Afghanistan to decide for itself.

“We pursue peace talks in Afghanistan with all sides, but we do not accept a peace that the foreigners favor in Afghanistan and did not participate in it (peace talks),” Zarif said, addressing the parliamentarians in Tehran on Sunday, Fars news reported.

“All Afghans should be present in Afghanistan and the peace process, and the foreign powers should not exclude one or several groups in peace talks by exerting their influence in pursuit of specific objectives,” he added.

A Taliban delegation recently traveled to Pakistan to meet with Pakistani officials and US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.

Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Idris Zaman, said on Saturday that the Taliban’s visit to Afghanistan would come to nothing if Afghan officials were not involved.

He stressed that any talks about peace should be conducted under the leadership and ownership of Afghans, and a ceasefire should follow.

The original US-Taliban talks lasted almost a year and were conducted over nine sessions during which both sides finalized an agreement “in principle.” But the negotiations were called off last month by President Trump after a Taliban attack in Kabul killed 12 people, including an American soldier.

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