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Iran Opposes Afghan Reconciliation And Reintegration – Diplomats

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Iran is trying to derail UN efforts to help internal dialogue in Afghanistan and foster engagement between Kabul and the international community, diplomatic sources have told Iran International.

The United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres told a press conference in Doha on Monday that he will begin consultations on the appointment of a UN envoy to coordinate engagement between Afghanistan’s Taliban and the international community.

Antonio Guterres said that Taliban representatives did not accept an invitation to a meeting of international envoys to Afghanistan that he convened in Doha on Sunday and Monday.

Diplomatic sources indicate that Tehran believes such efforts will reduce its influence with the Taliban in Afghanistan and boost US influence.

Afghanistan International, the sister broadcaster to Iran International, asked Iran’s representative, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, if Tehran was working against the goals of the Doha meeting. Qomi responded that the Islamic Republic of Iran engages in efforts that “benefit the Afghan people.”

Many international and non-governmental organizations and activists have attended the two-day meeting in Qatar. Guterres held closed-door meetings with diplomats and organizations to consult on prospects of improving the situation in Afghanistan and relations with Kabul.

A meeting between Iran’s foreign ministry officials and an Afghan delegation in Tehran on November 5, 2023

The Taliban government is largely unrecognized in the world, but it seems in no hurry to gain international acceptance.

The Taliban have refused the invitation from the UN Department of Political Affairs and Peacebuilding (DPPA) to attend the gathering. While Iran sent a representative, Russia has also refused to attend on the request of the Taliban.

Iran’s clerical regime and the Taliban have had mixed relations since 2021, when the US-supported government fell in Kabul and the militant group took over Afghanistan. Border clashes, a water dispute and million of Afghan refugees crossing the border into Iran have marked their attempts to foster relations.

Amid impasse on these issues, a 30-member Taliban “economic delegation” visited Iran in November. The delegation held talks with Iranian authorities on trade, transit, transportation, infrastructure, and railways, as well as regional development and the issue of the growing number of Afghan migrants in Iran.

The Afghan delegation was led by Abdul Ghani Baradar, First Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs of Afghanistan and a co-founder of the Taliban along with Mullah Omar.

Amid the escalating Hamas-Israel conflict, the visit by the Afghan delegation was also be related to security issues. Baradar also held a meeting with Iran’s top security chief Ali-Akbar Ahmadian, the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council and a close aide to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. “Afghanistan will not pose a threat to any of its neighbors,” the Taliban official said according to IRNA.

Tehran has been urging internal reconciliation in Afghanistan between the Taliban, which heavily represent the Pashtuns in the country and Persian-speaking ethnic groups such as the Hazara. However, the Taliban reject Tehran’s call insisting that they are the government, and everyone should fall in line.

The aim of UN’s DPPA is to reintegrate Afghanistan into the world community with the objective of a country “at peace with itself and its neighbors, fully reintegrated into the international community, and meeting international obligations.”