Afghan govt meets Taliban in Tehran Iran welcomes US troops pullout

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An Afghan government delegation met with Taliban representatives in Tehran Wednesday, the Iranian foreign ministry said, as the group pressed a light-ning advance amid the pullout of US troops.

Opening the talks, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif welcomed the departure of the US from its eastern borders but warned: “Today the people and political leaders of Afghanistan must make difficult decisions for the future of their coun-try.”

Deputy chief negotiator Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai headed the Taliban delegation while for-mer vice president Younus Qanooni represented the government, the Iranian ministry said.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed Stanikzai’s visit to Tehran to “discuss issues of mu-tual interest”.

But he made no reference to any Afghan govern-ment delegation, saying only that Stanikzai was holding talks with “some Afghan personalities”.

“They will discuss and exchange opinions on the current situation of the country and finding a solu-tion through talks,” Mujahid added.

In his opening remarks, the Iranian foreign minister hailed the “defeat” of US troops after two decades of war that had caused “extensive damage” but warned of the “unfavourable results of continuing the conflict”.—AFP

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