TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson confirmed that a delegation of the Afghan Taliban visited Tehran on December 30 and held extensive negotiations with a top Iranian diplomat .
Speaking at a weekly press conference on Monday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi confirmed reports that a Taliban delegation has visited Iran.
Following Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani’s trip to Afghanistan and his meetings with the Taliban, a Taliban delegation visited Tehran on Sunday and held extensive negotiations with Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, the spokesman added.
Considering that 50 percent of the Afghan territories are in control of the Taliban and given the insecurity and instability in that country, Iran and the Taliban have held such negotiations, albeit with the knowledge of the Kabul government, Qassemi said.
He said the main purpose of the talks was contribution to dialogue among Afghan groups and the Kabul government in order to move forward with the peace process.
“Iran, as a neighbor and major regional player, was willing to play an important role in establishing stability in Afghanistan after negotiations with the Kabul government,” Qassemi stated.
He explained that the talks with the Taliban would not mean Iran has identical stances with the group, saying it was necessary to start the negotiations to see if it is possible to contribute to dialogue between the Taliban and Kabul.
“Iran will try to facilitate intra-Afghan talks and help the Afghan government so that Afghan groups and Kabul can settle their problems at the negotiating table,” Qassemi said, adding that Iran is not the only country holding talks with the Taliban.
While many countries are in contact with the Taliban, Iran could have a greater responsibility for helping the Afghan people given the conditions in the region and Afghanistan and given Tehran’s role, the spokesperson said, adding that such talks with the Taliban could proceed.
During a trip to Kabul last week, Ali Shamkhani said the Afghan government has been kept informed of the ongoing talks between Iran and the Taliban, adding that the dialogue, aimed at resolving the security problems in Afghanistan, will go on in future.