Iran Interested to Mediate Talks Between NRF and the Taliban

The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to host talks to resolve differences between hostile groups in Afghanistan.

Reliable sources told Hasht-e Subh that the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to host talks to resolve differences between hostile groups and factions in Afghanistan, including the Taliban and the National Resistance Front led by Ahmad Massoud.

Sources in Tehran have said that the plan is still in its infancy, adding that it depends on a preliminary agreement between the Taliban and the National Resistance Front. According to these sources, Iran wants to mediate talks between hostile groups “through its extensive contacts” in Afghanistan. The meeting between Ahmad Massoud, the leader of the Resistance Front, and Ismail Khan, a jihadi leader, with Taliban officials in Tehran was held for the same purpose, with the support of some Iranian officials, including the foreign minister and representative of the country’s religious leader. The meeting took place in Tehran.

Local and international media outlets recently reported on a face-to-face meeting between Ahmad Massoud, the leader of the Resistance Front, and Ismail Khan, a jihadi leader, with Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban cabinet’s foreign minister, in Tehran. Earlier, Sibghatullah Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Resistance Front, had denied meeting between Mr. Massoud and Taliban officials.

Sources told Hasht-e Subh that if the talks between the leaders of the Resistance Front and the Taliban are successful, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to hold a formal and joint meeting between Afghanistan’s hostile groups and influential figures. The Islamic Republic has expressed its readiness to hold such a meeting not only to the leaders of the Resistance Front and the Taliban but also to some regional actors, including Russia, China, Pakistan, and Turkey.

Sources in Tehran said that the talks between Ahmad Massoud and Amir Khan Muttaqi were held calmly and formally. According to these sources, Mr. Muttaqi suggested to Ahmad Massoud and Ismail Khan that they could travel to Afghanistan and also work with the Taliban to establish an inclusive government.

Meanwhile, Amir Hossein Abdullahian, during his first visit to Moscow as the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran last year, told a news conference that Iran was helping to establish a comprehensive government in Afghanistan. Yesterday, after meetings between representatives of the Resistance Front and the Taliban in Tehran, Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in response to a question from Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), implicitly confirmed the meeting between Taliban officials and Ahmad Massoud. “Iran’s view of the situation of the Afghan people has been inclusive, regardless of region or ethnicity,” Khatibzadeh stated. “Regarding the meeting, Iran is hosting various Afghan groups, and inter-Afghan talks are still on Iran’s agenda. “Iran has also hosted these talks during this visit, and as far as we know, good talks have taken place between these leaders.”

Sources in Tehran told Hasht-e Subh that in three separate meetings with Mr. Muttaqi and the Taliban delegation, Massoud and Ismail Khan spoke about the situation in Afghanistan, acknowledging the shortcomings and discussing the current situation and the need for an inclusive government. Massoud and Ismail Khan have suggested to Amir Khan Muttaqi to attend a joint meeting with Afghan factions in Tehran. Mr. Muttaqi told Ahmad Massoud and Ismail Khan that they could travel to Afghanistan freely. Mr. Muttaqi also called for an opportunity to hold a joint, formal meeting with representatives of the Resistance Front and other political groups and factions, saying that they should consult and decide on these issues with Taliban leaders inside Afghanistan.

The Taliban Government’s Foreign Minister and the National Resistance Front Leader discussed how to draft an “Islamic constitution”, justice, national participation, fundamental civil liberties, and elections, sources added.

According to these sources, Amir Khan Muttaqi, the foreign minister of the Taliban, while inviting the leaders of the Resistance Front to return to Afghanistan, acknowledged some shortcomings in the structure created by the Taliban in Afghanistan and addressed significant issues. Basically, including attending a formal and joint meeting with all political factions, calling for more time to consult with Taliban leaders inside Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the National Resistance Front issued a statement saying that “the Taliban representatives, as always, stressed the continuation of the current situation, contrary to the reality and the demands of the Afghan people. They have no desire to accept our principles and values, the equitable distribution of power among all ethnicities and sections of society, and the formation of an inclusive government.”

“Ahmad Massoud and I and some other political and jihadi figures of the country, after continuous consultations, concluded that the current situation of the country and the life of the Afghan people is due to the rejection of inter-Afghan talks by the Taliban.” Ismail Khan posted on his Facebook page.

He spoke of the Taliban’s restrictions on women, deprivation of freedom of expression, disregard for the living conditions of the people, desolvation of electoral institutions, support for terrorist groups, illegal detentions, and creating an atmosphere of terror.

Efforts to facilitate dialogue between the Taliban and the National Resistance Front are being made by Iran as spring approaches and there is a possibility of armed resistance and the spread of war against the Taliban in some provinces. According to sources, Ahmad Massoud and Ismail Khan also told Taliban representatives during the meeting that they were capable of armed resistance against the Taliban regime, insisting that if talks to establish a “comprehensive government” failed, Afghanistan would see an increase in armed conflicts.

 

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