September 8, 2019
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says foreign troops, who have failed in achieving their purported goal of fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, must leave South Asian country so that fratricide would end there.
Zarif made the remarks in a post on his official Twitter account on Sunday in reaction to ongoing developments in Afghanistan and after the US President Donald Trump claimed that he had ended peace talks with the group over their role in a recent bombing near the US embassy in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Trump revealed in a Twitter post on Saturday that he had planned a secret meeting with the Taliban’s “major leaders” on Sunday at a presidential resort compound in Camp David, Maryland.
“Gravely concerned about Afghanistan: Defeated foreigners must leave and fratricide must end,” Zarif said in his tweet.
He emphasized that if the foreign military presence continued in Afghanistan, it could provide foreigners with an opportunity to “exploit the situation, bringing renewed bloodshed.”
Iran’s top diplomat added that Iran is “prepared to work with Afghan government and parties—as well as neighbors—to forge lasting end to violence.”
Zarif’s remarks came after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said earlier on Sunday that real peace could be only possible if Taliban militants agreed to a ceasefire and to direct talks with the Kabul government.
The Afghan president, who has been concerned about a draft deal between the United States and the Taliban, said in a statement that the Taliban had to agree to a ceasefire in order for real peace to emerge.
“The people and the government of Afghanistan pursue a dignified and sustainable peace and are committed to putting any effort into ensuring peace in the country. However, the government considers the Taliban’s obstinacy to increase violence against Afghans as the main obstacle to the ongoing peace negotiations,” the statement read, referring to the talks between the US and the militants that have produced the interim deal.
The Taliban have rejected calls for a ceasefire and stepped up assaults in recent weeks. Most recently, large groups of the militants have attacked the northern cities of Kunduz and Pul-e Khumri.
The Taliban on Sunday warned that Trump’s decision to cancel the talks would lead to the further loss of American lives and assets.
“The Americans will suffer more than anyone else for cancelling the talks,” the spokesman said.