12 Jan. 2022 09:44 Uhr
Through Iran’s mediation, the Taliban and the leaders of the so-called anti-Taliban resistance front came together in Tehran to seek political rapprochement. The Taliban foreign minister reportedly complained about internal disputes within Taliban groups.
A delegation led by the Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Chan Muttaqi met the Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Tehran on Sunday. The foreign minister of the Taliban ruling in Afghanistan reportedly met the leader of the so-called anti-Taliban resistance front in neighboring Iran. Taliban spokesman Sabiullah Mujahid said on Twitter on Monday that Muttaqi allegedly assured Ahmad Massoud and Ismail Khan from the Punjjir Resistance, the self-proclaimed National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF), that they could return to Afghanistan “without worries”. The NRF has not yet made any official comment on the meeting.
Ismail Khan and Ahmad Massoud met with a delegation from the Islamic Emirate in Tehran. During the meeting, the Islamic Emirate assured them that they could return home without any worries. Reassure everyone that there is no reason to disagree.
– Zabihullah (..ذبــــیی الله م) (@ Zabehulah_M33) January 10, 2022
The Taliban’s move to send a delegation to Iran to meet their armed domestic opponents was groundbreaking. A participant from the resistance front said the atmosphere in the talks, which took place on Saturday and Sunday, indicated “flexibility” on the part of Taliban officials. That reported the Washington Post on Monday. With this step, the Taliban are signaling their wish to reconcile themselves with the key figures on the resistance front in order to curb the danger of the spread of armed opposition groups in Afghanistan, said Middle East expert Michael Kugelman in Washington, DC.
The spokesman for the resistance front, Sigbatullah Ahmadi, said, however, that there were other motives behind the Taliban project, for example the attempt to gain official recognition from the government in Tehran and to resolve internal tensions between moderate and radical factions within their own leadership.
The Taliban foreign minister is said to have complained in Tehran about internal disputes within Taliban groups. This is reported by the Persian offshoot of the BBC. This is the Haqqani network, which is generally seen as part of the Taliban, but shows less willingness to compromise politically. The Haqqani network is classified as a “terrorist group” in the USA. This powerful group within the Taliban group is said to have close ties to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency in neighboring Pakistan.
The Haqqani family comes from a region of southeast Afghanistan where the Taliban are not very strong. However, they enabled the Taliban to invade another important greater region of Afghanistan. The Haqqanis acted as a relatively autonomous wing of the Taliban, as they have their own relations with Arab countries and with al-Qaeda, among other things.
There are still differences within Iran in dealing with the Taliban. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said high-level talks with Taliban officials on Sunday were “positive” but Iran still “has not come to the point of officially recognizing the Taliban.” “The current state of Afghanistan is a major problem for the Islamic Republic of Iran and the visit of the Afghan delegation came as part of these concerns,” he added at a press conference on Monday.
#Iran’s FM @Amirabdolahian meets visiting #Taliban delegation headed by FM Amir Khan Muttaqi. Muttaqi describes political, security, trade, transportation and oil talks “positive”.“Our purpose is to establish good ties with neighbors” he says. pic.twitter.com/btRhDWupDx
– Fereshteh Sadeghi فرشته صادقی (@fresh_sadegh) January 9, 2022
Ahmad Massoud – son of the “Lion of Punjjir” – and other anti-Taliban figures fled abroad after the Taliban came to power, mainly to Tajikistan, Turkey and Iran. Massoud is the son of the Afghan warlord and Taliban opponent Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was killed in 2001. In the 1990s, he led the resistance against the then Taliban leadership in the Punjjir Valley. NRF militias reportedly remain active in the mountains of Punjjir and in the nearby Andarab district of Baglan province. The NRF calls for the political participation of all ethnic minorities in the new government as well as women’s rights and elections in Afghanistan.
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