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June 17, 2019

Iranian envoy to Kabul sees role for Taliban in power

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June 17, 2019

KABUL: Iran’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, Mohammad Reza Bahrami, says that Tehran wants a role for the Taliban in Afghanistan’s government, but that role should not be dominant.

Taliban has publicly said that the group is not seeking power and that it wants an equal role for all Afghans in the future government. “We agree on the participation of the Taliban in power, but we do not agree with a dominant role for them,” Bahrami told TOLOnews. “Our position is very clear. We want to say there is a structure present where the Taliban can participate.”

Bahrami said that the picture of peace remains vague, adding those who lead the peace process are responsible for the uncertainty, indirectly hinting at the role of the US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, the Afghan government, and former President Hamid Karzai in the process.

“I want to clarify this issue that we are not blamed for the uncertainty about the future. Instead, those who have pushed the legitimization of the Taliban to an irreversible situation and those who are leading the [peace] process should be blamed [for this]. Those who have weakened the official institutions through their approach and those who have created a negative rivalry for their contact with the Taliban should be blamed,” Bahrami explained.

Back in January, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that it is impossible to have a future Afghan government without a role for the Taliban. However, he said the group should not have a dominant role in a future Afghan government – which will be formed after a possible peace deal between the Kabul government and the militant group.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Afghan Senate, Fazl Hadi Muslimyar, says he is not in favor of the way the peace talks with the Taliban are moving forward while the Afghan people remain unaware about it. “Our expectation from [Zalmay] Khalilzad is that your mission is for Afghanistan, for peace in Afghanistan... You are making conspiracy for us, you are not making it for others,” Muslimyar said. The US and the Taliban officials will attend the seven round of talks in Doha in the coming days.

Violence has dramatically increased in the country despite the past seven months of diplomatic efforts at the regional and international levels. The deputy head of the High Peace Council, Attaullah Rahman, who addressed a gathering in Kabul on Sunday, said the presence of Taliban’s deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar did not help in the reduction of violence as it was expected.

“They [Taliban negotiators in Doha] read one or two texts and then say they do not have more authority [to decide],” Rahman said. “I want to emphasize that we do not want a peace which comes in two or three days and again there is a war in three months,” said Rula Ghani, Afghanistan’s First Lady.

Figures by Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission show that more than 75,000 Afghan civilians have been killed and wounded over the past ten years and it would be difficult to reach to peace without justice. “From the start of 1388 [2009] until the end of 1397 [2018], more than 75,316 of innocent civilians were either killed or wounded due to the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan,” said Ayoub Azizi, a member of the commission.

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