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Senior Taliban Officials in Tehran amid Fragile Peace Talks

AT News

KABUL: A high-level delegation of Taliban led by the militants’ second in command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar arrived Tuesday in Tehran, the capital city of Iran.

Mohammad Naeem, Taliban’s Political Spokesman, said the visit was at an official invitation by Iranian government. According to Naeem, the delegation would talk on the condition of Afghan migrants in Iran, current political and security situation in Afghanistan and the region with Iranian officials.

Saeed Khatibzadeh, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman, confirmed the visit, saying that the Taliban team would meet foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the country’s special envoy for Afghanistan Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian Fard to discuss peace-related issues.

The visit comes one month after Iranian foreign minister called the Taliban “terrorists”, emphasizing that Tehran did not exclude the militant group from its terrorist list.

This is not the first visit of Taliban representatives to Iran. Mullah Baradar was in Tehran last year too.

Iran and Taliban were not in good relations when the insurgent group was ruling Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. In an attack on Iran’s consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif city, provincial capital of Balkh in the north, Taliban fighters killed eight Iranian diplomats and one journalist.

Some people in Afghanistan criticize Iran for what they call “cooperating with Taliban”.

The second round of peace talks being held between Afghanistan and Taliban is going ahead very slowly and no sign of progress can be seen.

Hamdullah Moheb, President Ashraf Ghani’s National Security Advisor called on defense and security forces last week to be ready for defensive operations in spring, arguing that Taliban would start massive attacks as they are reluctant to peacefully solution and want to seize power by war.

On Tuesday, Nader Nadery, a member of Afghan peace negotiating team said that Taliban negotiators refused to sit with them for talks in the past nine days.

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