Iran to host Afghanistan conference

Taliban militants are seen in Herat province, Afghanistan, Aug. 13, 2021. (Str/Xinhua)
Taliban militants are seen in Herat province, Afghanistan, Aug. 13, 2021. (Str/Xinhua)

Iran plans to host a conference in the capital Tehran next week on the political future and formation of a new government in Afghanistan.

“The conference on Wednesday next week [October 27] will be attended by the foreign ministers of neighbouring countries as well as a representative of Russia,” Foreign Office spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday.

According to Khatibzadeh, Iran will appeal at the meeting for a government in which all political groups – “including the Taliban” – are represented.

What Iran wants in Afghanistan is peace, what it does not want is violence and terrorism, he said. On this path, all neighbouring states should stand by the Afghan people, the spokesman said at a press conference in Tehran.

In Iran, there are still differences on how the government should deal with the hardline Islamist Taliban in the near future.

Some political circles in Tehran believe that the Taliban have changed and are no longer the Islamist movement of recent years. Others, however, say that recent developments have proven just the opposite. Moreover, they say, Shiite Iran will always remain a religious arch-enemy for the Sunni Taliban extremists.

A new wave of refugees feared by Tehran, as after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, has so far failed to materialize. The reason, according to observers, is the acute economic crisis in Iran as well as the strict controls due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The provisional buffer zones set up at the three border crossings in the north and south-east of the country are also said to have remained empty so far.

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