Iran Spox confirms talks with Taliban delegation in Tehran

Tehran, Dec 31, IRNA – Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi confirmed on Monday that a Taliban delegation held extensive talks with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for political affairs Abbas Araqchi in Tehran yesterday.

Speaking in his weekly press briefing, he said the meeting followed a recent visit by the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamhani to Afghanistan during which he held talks with Afghan officials.

Following the visit, he said, a Taliban delegation travelled to Tehran on Sunday to hold detailed talks with Araqchi.

On Dec 26, Shamkhani went to Kabul at the invitation of National Security Adviser of Afghanistan Hamdullah Mohib.

During his one-day stay in Kabul, Shamkhani met with Chief Executive of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah and some other Afghan officials.

Enhancing political, economic and security relations, countering terrorism and organized crimes, and border and regional cooperation were among the goals of Shamkhani's visit to Afghanistan.

Referring to the current chaos and insecurity in Afghanistan and the fact that Taliban militant group has over 50 percent of Afghanistan territory under its control, the spokesman said that during Shamkhani's visit to Afghanistan the group's leaders expressed interest in meeting and talking to him. He noted that the Afghanistan government was fully aware of the meeting and the negotiations.

Qasemi added that the negotiations between two sides mainly aimed at facilitating dialogues between the Afghan groups and Kabul administration to advance peace process in the country.

Given the Iran-Afghanistan historic and cultural background and the two countries' long joint borders, Qasemi added, Iran is quite willing to play a pivotal role in establishing peace and tranquility in its neighboring state especially now, after Shamkhani's meeting with the Afghan government.
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