Iranian FM holds talks with senior Taliban leader in Tehran
GENEVA: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held talks in Tehran with a Taliban delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the group’s founders, the official IRNA news agency reported on Wednesday.
Zarif expressed Iran’s willingness to support the dialogue between all Afghan parties with the participation of the Afghan government, according to IRNA. The Taliban have refused to talk to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s government, denouncing it as a US puppet.
Last week, the Taliban released American and Australian university professors held hostage for more than three years, completing a delayed prisoner swap and raising hopes for a revival of peace talks. Iran also held talks with a delegation from Afghanistan’s Taliban in September, a week after peace talks between the United States and the Islamist insurgents collapsed.
Iran said in December it had been meeting with Taliban representatives with the knowledge of the Afghan government, after reports of US-Taliban talks about a ceasefire and a possible withdrawal of foreign troops.
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