Iran’s Zarif welcomes efforts of power transfer in Afghanistan

Javad Zarif’s remarks come after coordination council was formed by Afghanistan’s political leaders

TEHRAN, Iran (AA) – Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has welcomed the formation of a coordination council to oversee the political transition in neighboring Afghanistan.

The outgoing top Iranian diplomat in a Twitter post on Sunday hoped that it can lead to “dialogue and a peaceful transition” in the war-ravaged country.

“Violence and war — like occupation — never solve problems,” he said while stressing that Iran “stands ready to continue its peacemaking efforts”.

Zarif’s remarks came in response to an announcement by former Afghan President Hamid Karzai that a coordination council had been constituted to ensure a smooth transfer of power after the sitting President Ashraf Ghani left the country.

Karzai, who served as the president of Afghanistan between 2001 and 2014 before he was succeeded by Ghani, said the measure was taken to “prevent chaos” and to “manage the affairs related to peace and peaceful transfer of power.”

Besides Karzai, head of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah and veteran politician Gulbuddin Hekmatyar are other members of the council.

The council called on the government forces as well as the Taliban fighters in Kabul to prevent chaos while maintaining restraint.

After capturing many key strategic provincial capitals in recent days, forcing government forces to surrender or flee, Taliban fighters on Sunday reached the capital city.

The unsavory developments have disrupted the activities of foreign diplomatic missions in the country.

Saeed Khatibzadeh, the spokesman at Iran’s Foreign Ministry, on Sunday said Iranian diplomats have vacated at least three of the five missions in Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad, and Kandahar.

The Iranian Embassy in Kabul has also been downsized due to unfolding events, he said.

Iran, which shares a 921-kilometer (572-mile) border with Afghanistan, has expressed concern over the evolving security situation in Afghanistan in recent days while emphasizing that its diplomats were safe.

On Saturday, Khatibzadeh called for the protection of Iranian diplomats at Iran’s consulate in the western Herat province, which borders Iran, after the Taliban overran the strategic provincial capital.

Iran, which has maintained contacts with both the Afghan government and the Taliban, has repeatedly called for an “inclusive government” in Kabul.


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