Iran Foreign Minister held important meeting with Afghan Taliban in Tehran

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Iran Foreign Minister held important meeting with Afghan Taliban in Tehran

*TEHRAN: *

Iran's link Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday called for the formation of an "all-inclusive" Afghan government during a meeting with a Taliban link in Tehran, the ministry said.

A delegation from the movement headed by its co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar arrived in Iran link Tuesday to exchange "views on the peace process in Afghanistan link" at the invitation of the ministry.

The visit comes as peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban link in early January in the Qatari capital Doha, meant to end a conflict spanning two decades.

"Political decisions cannot be made in a vacuum," Zarif told the delegation, according to a ministry statement.

"The formation of an all-inclusive government must take place in a participatory process and by taking into account the fundamental structures, institutions and laws, such as the constitution," he added.

He also welcomed the idea of forming an "all-inclusive government with the participation of all ethnic and political groups".

Zarif expressed hope the Taliban link "focus efforts on an immediate end to the pains of Afghan people, so that the establishment of peace in Afghanistan link strip the outsiders of a pretext for occupation".

Iran link previously called for the forces of its arch-rival the United States to withdraw from Afghanistan link, its eastern neighbour.

*Lack of progress*

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday urged the new US President Joe Biden to put pressure on the Taliban and not rush to withdraw more troops from Afghanistan link.

His appeal came days after the Biden administration said it intends to reconsider a February 2020 agreement between former president Donald Trump and the Taliban link.

The agreement includes the complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan link May 2021 in exchange for the Taliban halting attacks on US forces, sharply decreasing the level of violence in the country and advancing peace talks with the government in Kabul.

The Afghan government blames the Taliban link the lack of progress in negotiations that started in September last year and resumed this month.

"Since January 6, our delegation is in Doha ready to start the talks based on the agendas. But the other side is busy travelling abroad," government negotiator Muhammad Rasul Talib told reporters in Doha.

"The negotiation is not in a stalemate yet, but there is a pause and the reason for that is the Taliban link," he added.

"The Afghan delegation is calling on them to come back, we believe the current opportunity to solve the problems should not be wasted."

Kabul is pushing for a permanent ceasefire and to protect governance arrangements in place since the ouster of the Taliban link a US-led invasion following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in New York.

But violence has escalated across Afghanistan link, with the Taliban link to make concessions. -APP/AFP