Iran: US 'defeat' in Afghanistan a chance for lasting peace

Iran says US 'defeat' in Afghanistan a chance for lasting peace
2 min read
Iran's new ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi on Monday said the "defeat" of the United States in Afghanistan must usher in a durable peace in the war-wracked country.
Iran shares a 900-kilometre (560-mile) border with Afghanistan (Getty)

Iran's new ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi on Monday said the "defeat" of the United States in Afghanistan must usher in a durable peace in the war-wracked country.

"The military defeat and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan should offer an opportunity to restore life, security and lasting peace in that country," Raisi said, quoted by his office.

The presidency statement, issued after the Taliban seized control of Kabul, did not directly mention the group or the fall of the Afghan capital.

Raisi, during an exchange with Iran's outgoing foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, said Iran wanted good relations with neighbouring Afghanistan and was "closely monitoring the evolution of events" there.

The foreign ministry later said Zarif had met China's special envoy to Afghanistan, Yue Xiaoyong, and discussed "the issue of persons displaced during the latest events in Afghanistan and their arrival en masse in neighbouring countries".

Iran shares a 900-kilometre (560-mile) border with Afghanistan, and already hosts nearly 3.5 million Afghans, according to the UN's refugee agency.

The interior ministry's border affairs chief, Hossein Ghassemi, said Sunday that efforts were underway in three provinces bordering Afghanistan to set up temporary accommodation for a potential influx of Afghan refugees.

They would, "once conditions improve, be repatriated", he told the official IRNA news agency.

Analysts say Tehran is taking a pragmatic stance on the Taliban's resurgence, but many Iranians have painful memories of the hardline Sunni group's rule in the late 1990s.

In 1998, Taliban troops entered the Iranian consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif, killing several diplomats and an IRNA journalist.

The Taliban later said they had been killed by individuals acting independently, but Tehran held the movement responsible for the deaths, which sparked outrage and nearly triggered an Iranian military intervention in Afghanistan.

On Sunday, the Iranian foreign ministry said it had reduced its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan, shortly after the Taliban reached the outskirts of the Afghan capital.

Zarif's talks with the Chinese envoy came as a government spokeswoman in Beijing said the country was ready to deepen "friendly and cooperative" ties with Afghanistan.