Tehran Supports Afghan Government, Not Taliban

Tehran Supports Afghan Government, Not TalibanTehran Supports Afghan Government, Not Taliban

Iran only supports the government in neighboring Afghanistan and would never cooperate with those who threaten peace there, said a lawmaker, rejecting claims by the Taliban group that it has "relations" with Iranian government.

Kamal Dehqani Firouzabadi also told ICANA on Wednesday that Iran attaches high importance to stability in its eastern neighbor with which it shares a 936-km border, and deems illegitimate "any group that fights the Afghan government and shatters calm there and in neighboring countries [Pakistan]."

The claim was raised by the Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper on Sunday, which reported Mullah Zabihullah, an Afghan spokesman for the Taliban, as "revealing" the presence of "relations and new networks with Iran".

The report quoted Zabihullah as saying, "The movement is trying to benefit from all legitimate means to reach a regional agreement as part of the war against the American invasion. Therefore, [it] holds ongoing networks with a large number of regional and neighboring states."

Firouzabadi said the allegation that Tehran cooperates with the Taliban is meant to tarnish Iran's anti-terror reputation, a pioneer in the fight against the self-styled Islamic State and other terrorist groups across the region and the world.

Influenced by Wahhabi ideology mainly propagated by the Saudi regime, the Taliban ruled Afghanistan prior to a US-led invasion of the country in 2001. During its rule in the 1990s, the Taliban, which persecuted and killed thousands of people from the Shia Hazara minority, was not recognized by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, was one of the only three countries that did recognize the Taliban government. The group is accused of massacring a dozen Iranian diplomats in an attack on the Iranian Consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif, after its forces captured the northern Afghan city in August 1998.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi described the claim on Monday as a "premeditated measure" by "the terrorist-nurturing sponsors of the terrorist group" to fuel Iranophobic perceptions around the world.


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