Taliban reported a meeting with Ahmad Massoud and Ismail Khan in Tehran

Taliban meeting with Ahmad Massoud and Ismail Khan in Tehran (Credits: CC BY 4.0, Aamaj News)

On January 10th, 2022, the Foreign Affairs Minister of the Taliban interim Government Amir Khan Muttaqi said that he had met in Tehran with the head of the National Resistance Front Ahmad Massoud and the leader of the Herat militia Mohammad Ismail Khan.

The Afghan media agency Aamaj News reported that the meeting occurred during the Taliban delegation’s visit to Tehran. The Deputy Minister of Information and Culture of the Taliban interim Government Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed via Twitter the meeting where Muttaqi “assured Massoud and Khan that they can return to their homeland without facing any threat or security problems”. There is no news or statement from the National Resistance Front that confirms or denies the meeting.

According to the Taliban’s statements, the meeting was part of the visit that a Taliban delegation of 26 people paid to Iran to meet with local authorities. According to Muttaqi, who led the Taliban delegation, the parties discussed political, security, and trade issues with the Iranian authorities.

During the talks, Muttaqi stressed that Afghanistan is interested in establishing good relations with all countries in the region and added that Tehran could carry out trade transportation to Central Asia through the territory of Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian spoke about the need to unfreeze Afghanistan’s state reserves and promised that his country would continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.

In the past days, there were rumours that the Afghan embassy in Tehran might be transferred under the control and management of the Taliban. The Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry did not confirm this eventuality on this issue. However, it highlighted that “the diplomatic activities of the Afghan embassy in Tehran, like all foreign embassies, are carried out within the framework of the principles and rules defined by the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and no changes are allowed outside of it.”.

The Taliban diplomatic activities and desire to establish economic cooperation with neighbour countries and key actors in Central Asia explain the Kabul meeting between the Turkmen delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Vepa Khadzhiev and the Taliban leadership. According to the Turkmen Foreign Ministry, the parties discussed implementing joint projects, including constructing the TAPI gas pipeline, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) power transmission line (PTL) and the railway from Turkmenistan to some Afghan provinces.

Taliban meetings with Iranian and Turkmen representatives follow recent borders escalation, which alarmed the region about possible future escalations (Taliban involved in clashes at the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan border).