Iran FM says Taliban can’t revive Afghan ‘emirate,’ must join inclusive peace talks

ranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Taliban’s plan for the revival of an “emirate” in Afghanistan is not viable, stressing the need for the militant group to engage instead in an all-inclusive diplomatic process aimed at achieving “broad-based” peace in the war-ravaged country.

Speaking at a panel discussion session of India’s flagship Raisina Conference on Friday, Zarif elaborated on Iran’s stance on efforts to restore peace to Afghanistan and Tehran’s negotiations with the Taliban over the role the group needs to play in the diplomatic process.

Besides its own national security concerns, Zarif said, Iran held talks with the Taliban to convince the group that “there is a need for a broad-based, inclusive peace in Afghanistan, and that the Taliban should a part of that peace” instead of attempting to “control” the process.

He ruled out the possibility for the Taliban to implement its plan for reviving the “Islamic Emirate” of the 1990s in Afghanistan, saying that plan is no longer viable since the country has gone through a lot of changes over the past two decades and moved toward a democratic system of government thanks to the efforts of the Kabul government and the Afghan people.

Zarif said the democratic institutions established in Afghanistan following the overthrow of the Taliban rule “must remain in place…and become even more inclusive, with the Taliban abandoning violence and entering a political process.”

He said there is no consensus in Afghanistan over the Taliban’s plan, and that an “emirate” is not a system that post-war Afghanistan could be built upon.

The foreign minister called on all Afghan groups to work together and draw up a “unified peace” plan for the future of their country.

During the talks, “We pressed upon the Taliban that Iran is prepared to provide any forum for the Taliban and other groups in Afghanistan — particularly the government of Afghanistan — to engage in a serious talk for a movement forward; not threats, not violence, but working for peace within the constitutional framework of Afghanistan.”