Iran's Zarif hosts Taliban leader for Afghan talks, saying US is 'not a good mediator'

Iran's Zarif hosts Taliban leader for Afghan talks, saying US is 'not a good mediator'
2 min read
01 February, 2021
The Taliban leader was in Iran last week as parties look to end the conflict in Afghanistan.
The Taliban were in Iran this week for talks [Getty]

The leader of the Taliban was in Iran last week for talks on ending the conflict in Afghanistan, Tehran said on Sunday.

The Tehran discussions aim at ending the deadlock in US-sponsored peace talks in Qatar between the Taliban and Afghan government.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif told the Taliban's political leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar that the US was not a "good mediator" and offered Tehran's services instead, according to the Tasnim news agency on Sunday.

Zarif added that Iran supports a government representative of all "ethnic groups and sects", Reuters reported.

Relations between Iran and the Taliban have remained tense for decades, owing to sectarian and political divides, but the US has also accused Tehran of supporting the Afghan insurgent group.

Despite these historical differences between the two sides, the Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem said the talks had been held "in a good atmosphere".

"The situations in Afghanistan, Intra-Afghan negotiations, the full implementation of the Doha agreement and Afghanistan's & region's need (for) peace were discussed," he said on Twitter.

US troops have been present in Afghanistan since its 2001 invasion of the country, when the Taliban government was said to be harbouring leading members of Al-Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden.

Former US President Donald Trump has pushed for American troops to fully withdraw from Afghanistan, but foreign soldiers are likely to stay on beyond the May deadline, according to Reuters.

The news could add to tensions between the US and Taliban, while talks between the insurgents and the Kabul government remain deadlocked.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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