Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Tehran fully supports peace talks in Afghanistan with the leadership and participation of the Afghan government.
He made the remarks in a Saturday meeting with former Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Tehran.
Zarif stated that Iran has consistently supported the peace talks in Afghanistan with the leadership and participation of the Afghan government and will use all its capabilities to assist the Afghan government in this regard.
The Iranian top diplomat made similar comments in a meeting with Deputy Chief Executive of Afghanistan Mohammad Mohaqiq earlier in the day.
Referring to peace plans in Afghanistan, Zarif emphasised that any plan should be pursued with the participation of the Afghan government.
Multilateral talks on Afghanistan peace were held in Moscow on Nov. 9 with the participation of the Taliban and the Afghanistan High Peace Council (HPC), which claimed to be representing the Kabul government, but the administration of President Ashraf Ghani denies that.
Russia invited 12 countries and the Taliban to attend the talks aimed at restoring peace to the war-torn state, but the United States and the Afghan government declined to send official delegations to Moscow.
President Ghani rejected the invitation on the grounds that talks with the Taliban should be led by the Kabul government. But the High Peace Council, a government body overseeing peace efforts, attended the talks with four representatives.
The Afghan foreign ministry emphasized that the HPC did not represent the Afghan government at the meeting, however. Representatives from Iran, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan attended the talks.
The Afghan president said earlier this month that it was “not a question of if, but when” an agreement would be reached with the militant group amid renewed efforts by the international community to bring back peace to the country.
The US’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, has raised the possibility of a breakthrough before April 20, 2019, the date set for presidential elections in Afghanistan.
But Taliban leaders said on Monday that they had failed to reach any agreement with the US after three days of talks at their political headquarters in Qatar, citing dissatisfaction with a deadline set by Washington’s Afghanistan envoy to end the war.
The Taliban have generally insisted on negotiating only with the US, and not the Afghan government.
The militants have overtaken several districts in a spate of brazen attacks in recent months, including Ghazni, which was briefly overtaken by the militants last month, jolting the government in Kabul because the central city is close to the capital.
The Takfiri terrorist group of ISIS has also established a foothold in the country. The group has reportedly managed to recruit some of Taliban’s members.
Karzai has accused the US of propping up ISIS and using it as a “tool” for its own agenda in the country.