Taliban foreign minister makes first visit to Iran

The Afghan Taliban’s foreign minister visited Iran yesterday to discuss the issue of Afghan refugees and the growing economic crisis, in the first visit of its kind since the movement came to power in Afghanistan last year.

“The visit aimed to hold talks on political and economic issues and the transit of refugees between Afghanistan and Iran,” said Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a spokesman for the Taliban’s foreign ministry.

He explained that the Taliban delegation headed by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mottaki participated in a first meeting with Iranian officials.

Iran, like other countries, did not recognize the new government formed by the Taliban after it took power following the rapid US withdrawal in mid-August last year.

It seems that Tehran, which receives millions of Afghans and fears a new influx of refugees, is adopting a pragmatic approach in its relations with the new Afghan regime, but without recognizing it.

“We are not about to recognize (the Taliban government),” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a recent press conference.

“We hope that the governing body in Afghanistan will move in a direction through which international recognition can be obtained,” he added, reiterating Tehran’s position calling for the formation of an “inclusive government that reflects ethnic and demographic diversity” in Afghanistan.

After the “Taliban” announced a government of all of its members belonging to the movement and the majority of them from ethnic Pashtuns, Iran expressed its regret that the group did not represent all Afghans, calling for a government that “represents diversity.”


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