Iran President: U.S. 'Defeat' in Afghanistan a Chance for 'Peace'

Iran President: U.S. 'Defeat' in Afghanistan a Chance for 'Peace'

The Taliban terror group’s defeat of the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan on Sunday should restore “peace” to the country, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said in a statement released Monday.

“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 in a statement published by his presidential office on August 16. The statement captured some remarks made by Raisi during a phone call with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif earlier that day.

Raisi said the Islamic Republic of Iran wanted “good neighborly ties” with Afghanistan. Iran is “closely monitoring the evolution of events in Afghanistan,” the president revealed, adding that he tasked Zarif and Iran’s Supreme National Security Council “to give him updated reports on the situation in Afghanistan.”

“Violence & war — like occupation — never solve problems,” Zarif wrote in a statement posted to his official Twitter account on August 15.

Violence & war—like occupation—never solve problems.

Iran welcomes announcement by @KarzaiH on forming a Coordination Council by Afghan leaders.

We hope that it can lead to dialogue & a peaceful transition in Afghanistan.

Iran stands ready to continue its peacemaking efforts.

— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) August 15, 2021

“Iran stands ready to continue its peacemaking efforts [in Afghanistan],” the foreign minister concluded.

Zarif met with China’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Yue Xiaoyong, in Tehran on August 16, according to Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The two discussed the current security situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control of Kabul on August 15. The jihadist group’s victory shocked the U.S. government as it worked to complete a troop withdrawal from the country following a two-decade-long military operation in Afghanistan along with NATO-allied forces.

The U.S. ousted the Taliban from Kabul, the Afghan seat of government and national capital, as its initial goal at the onset of the Afghan War in autumn 2001. The terror group took just ten days to erase 20 years of Western military occupation and the resulting U.S.-backed government when it captured Afghanistan’s capital city on Sunday.

Both Iran and China share land borders with Afghanistan, making the country’s worsening security prospects especially important to Tehran and Beijing. Zarif at Monday’s meeting with Yue “reiterated Tehran’s support for a peaceful transition of power in order to prevent any intensification of violence and civil war in Afghanistan,” according to the Tehran Times.

“The displacement of Afghan citizens and their flooding to neighboring countries following in the aftermath of recent developments in the Central Asian country is one of the most pressing issues which entail special attention,” he added.

Yue said the emerging refugee exodus from Afghanistan required “cooperation between countries bordering Afghanistan.”

Iran shares a nearly 600-mile-long border with Afghanistan, and hosts roughly 3.5 million Afghans, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Tehran said on August 15 it had “prepared accommodation in three provinces to provide temporary refuge to Afghans fleeing their country,” the Middle East Eye reported. “But with its economy stifled by US sanctions, Iran has encouraged many of the more than two million undocumented and over 800,000 registered Afghan refugees in the Islamic Republic to return home.”

Gabrielle Reyes