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Karzai lauds Kabul-Taliban ‘rapprochement’ in Iran

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KABUL: Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has extolled the recent meeting between Afghan government and Taliban delegations in Tehran as “an effective step towards peace in the country”.

He welcomed a joint statement by both the parties, who met in Tehran, which called the continuation of war a threat to the country’s security and said that all efforts should be focused on finding a peaceful and political solution.

The former President also thanked Iran for its efforts in organizing and hosting the meeting and hoped that both sides would take more serious and effective steps for the success of peace process.

Iranian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday hosted Taliban and Afghan government representatives and facilitated a meeting between the two sides. Both the Afghan delegates and Taliban representatives agreed on a political solution to the Afghan crisis.

They issued a joint statement that said, “Both sides, with a common understanding of the dangers of continuing the war and the traumas that plague the country, agreed that war is not the solution to Afghanistan’s problems and that all efforts must be made to find a political solution to it,”

The meeting also culminated in both sides agreeing to formulate a mechanism for lasting peace and an Islamic system of governance, and to engage in consultations in next meetings.

The declaration also reprimanded attacks on residential areas, schools, mosques and hospitals, which result in civilian casualties and destruction of public facilities and sought perpetrators of such attacks to be brought to justice.

Najia Anwari, a spokeswoman for the State Ministry for Peace, has also lauded the talks in Tehran.

“This meeting is about building trust and creating ground for closer bilateral ties between Afghan and Taliban negotiators,” she said.

She said the people of Afghanistan wanted to speed up the talks and reach a conclusion.

The Afghan delegation, led by Mohammad Yunus Qanuni, the former Vice President of Afghanistan, and members of the Taliban faction led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, met each other in Tehran on Wednesday.

In addition to Mr. Qanuni, Mr. Karim Khurram and Mr. Irshad Ahmadi, close to Hamid Karzai, Mr. Salam Rahimi, Advisor to President Ashraf Ghani and representatives of some political parties were present at this meeting.

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