Iran in Flurry of Talks as Taliban Takeover Rattles Neighbors
(Bloomberg) -- The foreign ministers of Iran and Qatar met in Tehran to discuss Afghanistan as the Taliban takeover prompts a flurry of diplomatic activity among neighbors scrambling to work out their response.
Qatar’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, spoke at Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs about trade and regional issues, including the new government in Kabul, according to a ministry statement.
Sheikh Mohammed was fresh out of talks this week with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Qatar, which developed close ties with Taliban leaders and played a pivotal role in the evacuation of foreigners and Afghans from Kabul’s airport.
Afghanistan’s Neighbors Wary of Humanitarian Crisis Unfolding
The Sunni extremist Taliban’s return to power has raised alarm bells in Shiite Iran, which shares a long border with Afghanistan. Iranian officials have developed a working relationship with their erstwhile foes in recent years but the group’s resurgence has already displaced tens of thousands people, raising fears of a renewed exodus of refugees.
Last week Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rebuked the Taliban for their assault on the opposition stronghold of Panjshir province, north of Kabul, urging them to form a government that includes all of Afghanistan’s different religious and ethnic factions. That plea was ignored as the fundamentalist movement outlined a government stacked with its senior leaders.
Amirabdollahian had a call later Thursday with Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag, where the pair discussed Afghanistan, including Iran’s population of Afghan refugees. They also addressed nuclear negotiations between Tehran and world powers that have been on pause since before June elections that installed hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi as Iran’s president.
On Wednesday, Amirabdollahian took part in a virtual meeting of foreign ministers of countries bordering Afghanistan, in which he pledged to use all of Iran’s resources to facilitate inter-factional talks to resolve tensions in the South Asian nation.
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