Iran’s foreign minister’s assistant and special envoy to Afghanistan, Mohammed Ebrahim Taherian, on Wednesday held discussions with officials of the Taliban political bureau based in Qatar over the telephone. As per media reports, the two sides discussed the current developments in Afghanistan, including the response to the Coronavirus pandemic and the status of the peace process.
Earlier in April, Tehran extended support to the peace process between the Taliban and the Afghanistan government, calling for the formation of an ‘inclusive government’ in order to bring peace in the war-torn nation. Over the past several weeks, the Iranian government has held several separate meetings with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, former Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah and leader of the Islamic Dawah Organization Abdul Rasul Sayyaf among others to discussion bilateral ties, the political situation in the country and fight against the global health crisis. On April 20, the representative of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Mohammad Ebrahim Taherianfard, also shared views on bilateral issues and COVID-19 with senior officials of Afghanistan during a meeting in Kabul.
Notably, this development has come after Afghanistan Foreign Ministry launched an inquiry to probe reports of about 50 Afghan migrants drowning into the Harirud river after being tortured and thrown by Iranian border guards. However, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson had rejected the reports, maintaining that the incident had nothing to do with Iran. The Taliban had also released a statement reacting to the reports of Iranian border guards throwing Afghan migrants into the river. In the statement, the insurgent group shared deep concerns with Iran over the ‘martyrdom’ of Afghani migrants and called for the Iranian authorities to consider kindness and principles of neighborhood in their actions with Afghanistan amid the prevalent crisis.
In a simultaneous political development, Abdullah Abdullah, on May 1, announced that a “tentative agreement” has been reached with President Ashraf Ghani “on a range of principles”, which may lead to an end of the months-long political feud. However, Abdullah Abdullah did not reveal many details about the agreement. The recurring power struggle between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah has not only undermined Afghan’s peace process with the Taliban over the period of time, but it has also led to political and economic repercussions in the government. The US-Taliban peace deal has been perceived as Afghanistan’s best possibility to end the 18-year-long war. Amid the global pandemic emergency, Abdullah Abdullah also expressed hope in finalizing the political agreement to better tackle the COVID-19 crisis and ensure lasting peace in the country. The country has so far reported over 3300 Coronavirus cases.