Monday Aug 16, 2021
DUBAI: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Monday that the defeat of the United States in the Afghan War is an opportunity to establish durable peace in Afghanistan.
Taliban insurgents took control of the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday following a rout of the US-backed Afghan army as foreign forces withdrew from Afghanistan.
Washington has accused Iran in the past of providing covert aid to the Taliban against US forces. Tehran, which supports an inclusive Afghan government that would include all ethnic groups and sects, has denied this.
"America's military defeat and its withdrawal must become an opportunity to restore life, security, and durable peace in Afghanistan," Iran's state TV quoted Raisi as saying.
"Iran backs efforts to restore stability in Afghanistan and, as a neighbouring and brother nation, Iran invites all groups in Afghanistan to reach a national agreement."
Iran has been a foe of the Taliban for decades, but for the last few years, it has been openly meeting Taliban leaders. In July, Tehran hosted a meeting of then-Afghan government representatives and a high-level Taliban political committee.
Oil-producing Iran, a destination for Afghans seeking work or fleeing war, said on Sunday it had prepared accommodation in three provinces to provide temporary refuge to Afghans fleeing their country.
But with its economy stifled by US sanctions, Iran has encouraged many of the more than two million undocumented and over 800,000 registered Afghan refugees in the Islamic Republic to return home.