News ID: 272218
Published: 0433 GMT July 29, 2020

Iran welcomes Taliban cease-fire announcement

Iran welcomes Taliban cease-fire announcement

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi welcomed the announcement of a three-day cease-fire by the Taliban militant group, calling it a positive step towards peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Mousavi expressed hope that the Taliban move will help create the necessary atmosphere for dialogue between the country’s political groups. 
On Tuesday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement declared a three-day cease-fire for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, starting Friday. 
The militants declared a similar three-day cease-fire at the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in May.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Mousavi also hoped for the beginning of inter-Afghan talks led by the Afghan government and with the participation of the country’s political groups, including the Taliban, in order to find a peaceful solution for the country’s decades-old civil war. 
The Iranian official once again underlined Iran’s readiness to help advance inter-Afghan dialogue. 
In recent months, Iranian officials have held talks with Afghan officials in an effort to help Afghanistan overcome its ongoing problems.
Iran has also confirmed that it has held talks with representatives of Taliban group.   
On Friday, the US’s chief negotiator with the Afghan Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, claimed that Iran had not been adequately supportive of a US-led attempt to get the Taliban militant group and the Afghan government to negotiate. 
“Iran has not been as supportive as it should be in the effort to get to intra-Afghan negotiations and an Afghan settlement largely due to our (the US’s) relations with them,” Khalilzad said.
A day later, the Iranian Embassy in Kabul in a statement dismissed the “fallacious” remark by the US official, stressing that it backs dialogue that is led by Afghans and takes place among Afghans.
The statement said that the Islamic Republic’s unchanging policy was to support the establishment of a peace that was “based on the outcomes of intra-Afghan negotiations, which are owned and led by Afghans [themselves].”
The Iranian diplomatic mission advised American officials to “carefully study the positions of Iranian officials about regional issues and Afghanistan before making comments [about those positions].”
The US has reached a deal with the Taliban to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan. While the deal imposes obligations on the Afghan government, negotiations that led to the agreement did not involve Afghan government representatives. The Taliban said openly at the time of the negotiations that they did not recognize the Afghan government. They have refused to make such a recognition publicly as of yet, even though they have been carrying out a prisoner exchange with Kabul under the deal more recently.
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