Taliban’s absence at Tehran meeting was their own decision, Iran says

TEHRAN — The Iranian Foreign Ministry addressed the absence of Taliban representatives at the Tehran meeting held on Saturday, June 8, stating it was a decision made by the Taliban leadership.

Nasser Kanaani, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, explained that the Taliban had been invited to the Tehran meeting, but its leaders chose not to send representatives. “The Taliban decided not to attend the Tehran meeting,” Kanaani said.

Kanaani described the Tehran meeting as part of ongoing regional and international discussions about Afghanistan. “The Tehran meeting continued the dialogue aimed at enhancing Afghanistan’s security through strengthened regional cooperation and mechanisms,” he said at a Monday press conference.

The meeting focused on a range of issues concerning Afghanistan, including counterterrorism, economic aid, and the political situation. “Participants discussed various aspects of Afghanistan, such as combating terrorism, supporting the livelihood and economy of Afghan people, and the political developments in Afghanistan,” Kanaani noted.

He emphasized that instability in Afghanistan would affect the broader region. “Any security and economic disruptions in Afghanistan will not remain confined to its borders but will impact the overall regional stability,” Kanaani warned.

The second meeting of the Regional Contact Group on Afghanistan took place in Tehran on Saturday, June 8. Representatives from Iran, Russia, China, and Pakistan participated in the discussions.

Hours ahead the meeting began, the Taliban announced that it had been invited but decided not to participate.

Zaker Jalali, a Taliban foreign ministry official, said on Saturday morning that they had been invited but chose not to attend.

He added that the Taliban expects discussions about Afghanistan to occur through “established mechanisms.”

According to him, representatives from Russia, Iran, and China referred to the meeting by different names, indicating varied perceptions of the event.

The meeting was held ahead of the upcoming Doha meeting on Afghanistan scheduled for June 30.