Iran's Foreign Minister Warns Against External Intervention In Afghan Talks

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 22nd September, 2020) The future of Afghanistan should be determined without external intervention, though intra-Afghan talks, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said.

"We are very pessimistic about the negotiations process," Zarif said on Monday, adding that the United States is using the peace talks and not playing a positive role.

According to the Iranian foreign minister, Tehran supports any dialogue between the conflicting sides in Afghanistan, including the Taliban.

Zarif stressed that the peace talks should not be conducted under the direction of any of the sides, all parties must participate equally and the future of Afghanistan should be determined by the parties to the conflict without external intervention.

On Sunday, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad called for a reduction of violence in Afghanistan amid Doha peace talks.

Violent clashes and bomb blasts have been reported in Afghanistan over the last few days despite the ongoing peace talks between the government and the Taliban in the Qatari capital of Doha.

On Sunday, a local source told Sputnik that at least ten police officers and 15 Taliban members had been killed in ongoing clashes between security forces and the militant group in Afghanistan's central Uruzgan province. On Saturday, a spokesman for Afghanistan's Interior Ministry, told Sputnik that as many as 15 civilians, including women and children, had been killed or wounded after a pair of blasts in the Afghan provinces of Balkh and Paktika.

The Afghan government and the Taliban launched peace talks in the Qatari capital, Doha, earlier this month, after both sides successfully completed a long-awaited prisoner exchange arrangement. There is no timeline on the discussions, which are the first direct talks between the two warring sides.

On February 29, the United States and the Taliban movement signed a peace deal in Doha, Qatar, stipulating a gradual withdrawal of US troops as well as the beginning of intra-Afghan negotiations and prisoner exchanges. The talks were delayed multiple times as the Afghan government and the Taliban disagreed over the prisoner exchange process.

Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation, said at a press conference on September 13 that the Doha peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban would be lengthy, but the two sides were aware of the Afghan people's desire to end violence as soon as possible.