Iran, Pakistan form contact group for Afghanistan, present proposals to Taliban

Iran and Pakistan have agreed to establish a contact group for Afghanistan, aiming to present constructive proposals to the Taliban.

Hassan Kazemi Qomi, Iran’s special representative for Afghanistan, announced during his visit to Pakistan that the regional contact group will develop proposals addressing the concerns of regional and neighboring countries. These proposals are intended to encourage the Taliban to implement changes. However, details of the proposals were not disclosed.

“We agreed with Pakistan that Afghanistan’s neighbors should form the core of this contact group, presenting the Taliban with a package of proposals,” Qomi said. “The group’s agenda may expand to address broader regional and international concerns about Afghanistan in a step-by-step manner with a specific timeline.”

Some experts, however, are skeptical about the effectiveness of such initiatives. Ramzan Ali Fasahat, a university professor and expert in international relations, noted that the establishment of a contact group and its recommendations might not ensure peace in Afghanistan and the region unless there is a genuine regional commitment to combating ISIS.

“The Iranian delegation’s visit to Pakistan and the support for forming a contact group could be aimed at urging the Taliban to actively and seriously combat terrorism and extremism, particularly the threat posed by Daesh to Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan,” Fasahat explained.

Qomi has met with Pakistan’s foreign minister and Asif Durrani, Pakistan’s special representative for Afghanistan. He is also expected to meet with the head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Military expert Mohammad Naeem Ghayor commented on the recent Iran-Pakistan talks in Islamabad, highlighting the long-standing support both countries have provided to the Taliban and the challenges they now face.

Following a deadly ISIS attack in Kerman, Iran, which killed 95 and injured over 200, Iran has expressed concerns about future attacks on its territory. “Recent regional developments could embolden ISIS, causing alarm in Iran. Iran aims to formally engage with the Taliban, who oppose ISIS, and Pakistan’s involvement could help align regional efforts and mitigate damage from other actors,” said Abdulhamid Mahmoudi, a professor of international relations.

After the Kerman attack, Qomi also met with the Taliban’s deputy political chief, who assured that Afghanistan poses no threat to Iran and contributes positively to regional security and stability.