A senior Iranian diplomat visited Afghanistan and met with senior Afghan leaders. In a meeting with the acting Afghan foreign minister, Mohammad Hanif Atmar, the Iranians expressed “Tehran’s backing for a peace process owned and led by the Afghan government”; the two sides also discussed economic cooperation. In a media interview, the Iranian diplomat insisted that “the U.S. presence in the region is dangerous and will create many disagreements”. “The U.S., which counts itself an ally of Afghanistan, has negotiated with the Taliban and has made a deal with them”, he added, maintaining that “we do not have relations of this type with the Taliban. We had talks with them. They have had trips to Iran, and we have met them. The goal of these meetings has been to encourage their presence in the peace process and intra-Afghan negotiations… We have contact with all groups in Afghanistan because we have more than 1,000km of border with Afghanistan and because we have seen the damage from changes in Afghanistan for years”.
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