Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that it is impossible to have a future Afghan government without a role for the Taliban. However, he said the group should not have a dominant role in a future Afghan government – which will be formed after a possible peace deal between Kabul government and the militant group.
“I think it would be impossible to have a future Afghanistan without any role for the Taliban. But we also believe that the Taliban do not have, should not have, a dominant role in Afghanistan. Of course, at the end of the day that is the decision that the Afghans need to make,” Zarif said in an interview with India’s NDTV on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, Taliban confirmed that the group has visited Tehran on issues around peace and security in Afghanistan.
“The delegation visited Tehran to share Taliban’s views on ‘post-occupation’ scenario and establishment of peace and security in Afghanistan and the region with Iranian officials,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for Taliban, said in a statement on January 1.
Zarif talked about Pakistan’s role in supporting militant groups in Afghanistan and said Pakistan was trying to play “a positive role”.
“We believe that Pakistani position on Afghanistan is evolving and we believe that Pakistan now is trying to play a positive role in getting a peace process underway in Afghanistan,” Zarif said as quoted by NDTV.
When asked about a possible withdrawal of a “significant” number of US troops from Afghanistan, Zarif said Iran believes the presence of US forces has not helped security and stability in Afghanistan.
The remarks come amid increasing efforts by the Afghan government and the international community, the United States on the top, on finding a political solution to the war in Afghanistan.
In line with these efforts, the Afghan President’s special envoy Umer Daudzai is in a four-day visit in Islamabad where he has met with Pakistani officials and he will hold other meetings in the coming days we well.
Meanwhile, the United States special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has also started another multi-nation trip on Afghan peace in which he will visit India, China, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.