Senior officials of Afghanistan’s neighbouring states have gathered in Iran’s capital for a one-day conference to discuss the situation in the Taliban-ruled country.
The meeting of foreign ministers of Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan on Wednesday in Tehran will also be joined by their counterparts from China and Russia via video link.
The meeting is to be inaugurated by newly elected Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who has made engaging with the region a top priority in his foreign policy direction. On Tuesday, Raisi and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian held separate bilateral talks with each of the foreign ministers.
The Iranian foreign ministry has said the aim of the event was to shape a united front among the neighbours in the call for the formation of an “inclusive” government in Afghanistan.
Controlling refugee waves following the Taliban’s takeover of the country in August, ensuring economic security for Afghanistan and fighting “radicalism” are the other main objectives of the meeting, it added.
The talks follow a virtual meeting in early September between the foreign ministers that was hosted by Pakistan.
Iran has maintained its official position calling for an “inclusive” government in Afghanistan even after the Taliban announced the formation of an administration that does not represent ethnic and religious groups or women.
Iran’s foreign ministry has also harshly condemned the Taliban’s armed assault against opposition fighters in the Panjshir Valley, and a series of recent deadly explosions claimed by the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K) armed group that have rocked Afghanistan.
Before the withdrawal of the United States-led foreign forces from Afghanistan in August, Tehran hosted intra-Afghan talks that included the Taliban earlier this year.
Iran has said it remains in constant contact with all parties in Afghanistan, including the Taliban.
A Taliban commerce official recently announced the group is eager to buy oil from Iran and hopes its western neighbour grants the request to help address Afghanistan’s fuel shortages.