Iranian foreign minister's special envoy for Afghanistan Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian said on Friday that Tehran has officially and explicitly supported of the launch of negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban militant group, according to IRNA.
He noted that Iran has announced its readiness to help advance a real and lasting peace in Afghanistan, stressing that peace in Afghanistan is the inseparable part of Iran’s policy towards the neighboring country.
Taherian’s comments came after the US special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad claimed that Iran is trying to keep the US “entangled … without winning or losing,” and trying to make the US pay “a high price in Afghanistan until there is an agreement between the US and Iran.”
“The remarks made by the American official result from the gradual revelation of the mistake that architects of the Doha deal made in advancing the peace process and their resort to the blame game in order to justify the ineffectiveness of this policy by accusing the other countries,” the Iranian envoy said.
Speaking to the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), Khalilzad added that the United States has invited Iran to talks on ending the war in Afghanistan.
Since September 12, representatives of the central government in Kabul and those of Taliban have been engaged in peace talks in the Qatari capital of Doha, following months of delay over a contentious prisoner swap between the two sides.
Earlier this month, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem claimed the militant group had decreased the level of violence with the start of the first round of intra-Afghan talks.
The peace talks come following a deal between the Taliban and the United States signed in February.
Under the deal with Washington, the Taliban agreed to halt their attacks on US-led foreign forces in return for the US pullout of its troops from Afghanistan and a prisoner swap with the government.
Kabul was a party neither to the negotiations nor to the deal, but it has been acting in accordance with its terms, including by agreeing to free the Taliban prisoners.
In all, Kabul released 5,000 prisoners demanded by the Taliban.
The US invaded the Asian country and toppled the Taliban-run government in 2001 under the pretext of fighting terrorism following the September 11 attacks in New York.