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Iran says it promotes intra-Afghan dialogue

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: The Iranian President’s Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi said that his country strongly supports peace and stability in Afghanistan, adding that Tehran’s talks with the Taliban are being held in coordination with Kabul.

Before meeting with the Taliban delegation, we held talks with the Afghan government, Mahmoud Vaezi said, adding, “I have heard no report indicating that Afghan government is discontent with Iran-Taliban talks.”

Iran’s neighboring countries are faced with different challenges, including civil war, and peace and stability is of utmost importance for Tehran, he said, adding, “Insecurity in Afghanistan can spread into Iran.”

Iran aims to ensure regional peace and security and provide the ground for Afghan-Afghan talks, he said, highlighting, “we never interfere in Afghanistan’s internal issues.”

On Monday, Iran confirmed talks with the Taliban to help the peace process, but meantime, stressed that negotiations with the Afghan group do not mean shared views or stances.

“A delegation from the Taliban was in Tehran yesterday and extensive talks were held at the foreign ministry with Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs (Seyed Abbas) Araqchi,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi told reporters in Tehran.

‘The main goal of the negotiations is finding a solution and grounds to facilitate assistance to the talks between the Afghan groups and the government of this country to help the peace process in Afghanistan,” he added.

Qassemi underlined that talks with the Taliban ‘do not necessarily mean that Iran’s positions are similar to those of the group”, and expressed the hope that negotiations could yield results for the Afghan nation and establish security and stability in the country.

He also emphasized that the Afghan government was informed of Iran’s talks with the Taliban, and added, “We are not the only country which has held talks with the Taliban and many other states also have interactions with them.”

His remarks came as earlier this month the Pentagon acknowledged Iran’s key role in restoring peace and stability to war-torn Afghanistan, backtracking on Washington’s earlier claims that Tehran supports the local Taliban militant group.

“Iran seeks a stable Afghan government that is responsive to Iranian goals, the elimination of ISIS-K, the removal of the US/NATO presence, and the protection of Iranian concerns, such as water rights and border security,” the US Department of Defense said in a report sent to Congress.

The Pentagon also admitted Iran’s influence in Afghanistan, saying that Tehran pursues “a multitrack strategy” of engaging with the Afghan government and seeks to boost bilateral economic ties with Kabul.

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