Afghan Gov. direct talks with Taliban shortest way to achieve lasting peace: Ambassador

Tehran, Jan 7, IRNA - Afghan ambassador to Tehran says that the shortest way for a lasting peace in Afghanistan is direct talks between his government and the Taliban to realize the practical and lasting result.

In an exclusive interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Ahmad Nour referred to the growing relations between Afghanistan and Iran, and said, 'As an embassy in Tehran, there is almost no week that we are not witnessing the reception and coming of a delegation, and even more than a delegation, which is mostly at the level of Ministers, deputy of Ministers and Experts. In addition to this, leaders of the two countries for institutionalizing the ties required developing a comprehensive document on long-term cooperation between the two countries and this document is a basic document regarding the cooperation of the two countries.”

Afghanistan's ambassador to Tehran, in response to a question about the transfer of the ISIS (Daesh) to Afghanistan, said that ISIS in Iraq and Syria are different from those operating under the name of the ISIS in Afghanistan. The ISIS of Afghanistan has come out of the context of Taliban and the elements of the group are the Taliban elements that have put down a white flag and raised the black one, otherwise we do not see any the difference between the two in terms of the nature, ideology, goals and practices.

About the US security strategy in Afghanistan, which was announced about a year ago, as well as the announcement of troop withdrawal by US president Donald Trump in recent days, he said, “The coalition in Afghanistan had 130,000 to 140,000 predominantly American troops before 2014. At the same time, Americans announced that they would reduce their troops in Afghanistan. But we saw that this great departure did not have a very negative impact on Afghanistan, and despite the fact that our security forces were newcomers at the time, they were able to take on their responsibilities well and maintain cities, roads and major centers.”

'The Afghan government and nation have been thirsty for peace for many years, and we are on this path; we welcome every way and in a solution that brings about a sustained and dignified peace and reconciliation,' said the Afghan diplomat in talks and contacts recently conducted with the Taliban group.

He added, 'We welcome and thank all brotherly and friendly countries that will help us in this way, but we emphasize that the issue of peace and negotiations with Taliban should be on managing the Afghan government.

Answering a question about the outlook of reaching an understanding with the Taliban, Nour said, “We are hopeful. It is up to the Taliban to take advantage of the opportunity and consider the very comprehensive proposal for negotiations and peace that the President introduced in the second Kabul process and see whether they want to have a role in the political future of Afghanistan.

In response to another question about US unilateral sanctions against Iran and the possible impact of these sanctions on Iran-Afghanistan relations, including the Chabahar agreement, Afghan ambassador said, “It is our wish to see a world without tensions, sanctions and conflict, and if anything we can do, we are glad to do our best, but as far as the current sanctions are concerned, the Americans have stated that the Chabahar port project is exception to US sanctions.'

Ahmad Nour continued, 'The relationship between Tehran and Washington is not related to these days and have lasted for four decades.' During these 16 years or more when Americans in Afghanistan have a significant presence, our relationship with our brotherly neighbor (Iran) is getting stronger every day, and the presence of Americans and the strategic relationship between Afghanistan and the United States has no effect on our relations with Iran.

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