Iran punches holes in US-led peace process in Afghanistan
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran has always been a participant in peace efforts in Afghanistan, however, Iran believes there are major flaws in the US-led peace process in Afghanistan.
Speaking virtually with interviewer Fareed Zakaria for the Council on Foreign Relations, a US-based independent thinktank, in a discussion posted on September 21st, Zarif said that Iran played a constructive role in getting the current democratic government in Afghanistan.
“Iran has always been a participant in any peace effort from the Bonn conference in 2001 where Iran played a leading role in getting the current government in place in Afghanistan to all regional attempts -- we believe that there are major flaws in the attempt by the United States in the recent process,” said Zarif.
Zarif said that the US’s attempt to get out of Afghanistan is a good thing, but it should not be at the expense of the achievements and the democratic process in Afghanistan. “I believe the United States engaged in all-out efforts to simply get out of Afghanistan which is good, but it should not be at the expense of the people of Afghanistan and at the expense of the democratic process in Afghanistan, at the expense of the achievements of the international community and the Afghan people over the past 20 years,” Zarif said.
“I think for the United States ... the ultimate objective was to simply find the way to leave Afghanistan, it did not have to impose all of that on Afghanistan and on the region, so we are very pessimistic...about the process that the United States led, that’s why we did not participate in that process, but we support any and all intra-Afghan dialogue, we believe that should be...keeping with the democratic achievements of the people of Afghanistan with the participation of all parties including the Taliban,” he said.
Zarif stated that the Afghan peace process should be inclusive and all Afghan parties should be part of the process. “We do not believe that it should be ruled by one party, but it should be with the participation of all parties, we believe that the future of Afghanistan should be decided by all Afghans without foreign interference and regional countries should play a role in assisting, in facilitating, not dictating, I think the United States has not played a positive role, we indicate that since Dr Khalilzad started his endeavours, we said that it was on (the) wrong footing, that it was not based on assumptions and the principles that would serve long term peace and stability in Afghanistan,”
Zarif said that Iran is closely watching the Doha peace talks. “We have observed very closely the discussions in Doha, they are unfortunately (in a) stalemate, we will do whatever we can in order to help that process, but the damage that has been done by the United States by this process is very difficult to undo,” Zarif said.
In response to a question about whether Russia was paying bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, Zarif said that he has no information about that. Zarif however said that everybody in the region is concerned about the rise of Daesh. “In Afghanistan there has been cooperation in order to fight Daesh,” said Zarif.
Peace talks between the Taliban and the delegation representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan began in Qatar on September 12 with officials from many nations and international organizations attending or speaking virtually at the opening ceremony.
Officials from Qatar, the US, Norway, Turkmenistan, China, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Germany, Pakistan, India, Spain, Finland, UK, Japan, the UN, NATO And the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) participated at the inauguration ceremony. However, Iran did not attend the ceremony.
Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani delivered a statement on Monday night at the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the UN, underscoring the important role of multilateralism, and particularly the UN, in addressing the challenges that continue to impact Afghanistan and the world.
The Afghan president called on the international community to help the Afghan people achieve the end state of a sovereign, united and democratic Afghanistan.