January 10, 2022
A delegation led by the Taliban foreign minister is in Iran to discuss border, economic and refugee issues, a senior foreign ministry official in Kabul said on Sunday.
It is the first time that a high-profile delegation from Kabul is visiting the neighboring country after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August last year.
Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi is accompanied by the ministers of economy and commerce, as well as the governor of Afghanistan’s central bank.
The delegation arrived in Tehran on Saturday, on the invitation of the Iranian government.
“During this visit, very important issues, including the border and crossing points, refugees, the economy and strengthening political relations with Iran will be discussed,” Waliullah Shaheen, director of the Institute of Strategic Studies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul, told Arab News.
“We at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan believe that Iran is an important neighbor for Afghanistan, especially at this time.”
Iran, like other nations, has so far not recognized the interim government of Afghanistan, formed by the Taliban in September last year.
Since the fall of Kabul’s Western-backed administration on Aug. 15, billions of dollars in foreign assistance to Afghanistan’s aid-dependent economy have been suspended and some $9.5 billion of Afghan Central Bank assets parked overseas have been frozen.
With aid suspended, its new rulers unrecognized, and the financial system paralyzed, Afghanistan is facing a looming humanitarian crisis.
Iran is a key trade partner to Afghanistan and host to millions of Afghan refugees.
Tensions on its 900-kilometer border with Afghanistan, an active smuggling and human trafficking route, have been a long-standing issue.
In December, Taliban authorities reported the killing of several Iranian border guards following fuel smuggling attempts from the Iranian side to Nimroz Province in southwestern Afghanistan.