Iran urges Taliban to adopt ‘friendly’ approach at regional meet
TEHRAN: Iran’s foreign minister called on the Taliban to adopt a “friendly” approach as Afghanistan’s six neighbouring countries met Wednesday to determine a “roadmap” following Taliban takeover of Kabul.
The meeting, two months since the Taliban swept to power in Kabul, brought the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan to Tehran, while their Chinese and Russian counterparts joined via video-link.
“It is essential that the Taliban adopts a friendly approach towards its neighbours and takes the necessary measures to assure them that there is no threat to their neighbours from Afghanistan,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said.
“I hope that we can paint a clearer picture of the realities of Afghanistan, and the expectations of the neighbouring countries most affected by the developments in that country, and develop a roadmap.”
Afghanistan is on the cusp of a humanitarian crisis, with UN agencies warning on Monday that more than half the country could face “acute” food shortages this winter.
Iran’s First Vice-President Mohammad Mokhber warned of the impact surrounding nations faced from the situation in Afghanistan.
“If no solution is found as soon as possible to control and manage the economic crisis in Afghanistan, the crisis will certainly move beyond the borders of Afghanistan and affect its neighbours and the world,” he said.
Iran, which shares a 900-kilometre (560-mile) border with Afghanistan, did not recognise the Taliban during their 1996 to 2001 stint in power.
But Tehran has appeared to soften its tough stance in recent times in the name of pragmatism.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran insists on the establishment of an inclusive government with the presence and effective participation of all ethnic and religious groups in Afghanistan, based on inter-Afghan dialogue without the intervention of foreign actors,” Amir-Abdollahian said.
The Taliban recently formed an all-male cabinet made up entirely of members of the group, and almost exclusively of ethnic Pashtuns. It has severely restricted women’s rights to work and study, prompting widespread international condemnation.
“The Taliban must play an undeniable role in assuring security, countering terrorism and respecting the rights of diverse groups, including women,” Amir-Abdollahian said.
He also said the Taliban must work on “providing the basic needs of Afghan citizens, putting an end to abuse of ethnic and religious minorities, eradicating the causes that led to the displacement of part of the population and respecting international law”.
The first meeting held by Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries took place via videoconference on September 8.