US Acting Secretary of Defence Chris Miller paid a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Tuesday, meeting with President Ashraf Ghani and discussing military aid and security issues. The US and the Taliban signed a peace deal in Doha in February, with the US committing to pulling NATO troops out of the country in exchange for intra-Afghan peace talks.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reiterated Tehran’s long-standing demand that foreign troops be withdrawn from Afghanistan, and accused Washington of using the US-Taliban deal for electioneering purposes.
Asked whether the US-Taliban relationship is harmful to Iran itself, Zarif said that “what is harmful for Iran and Afghanistan is that the US signs an agreement with the Taliban and wants to impose it on the Afghan people.”
Iran’s position, he said, is for the US to facilitate intra-Afghan talks, “and avoid contacting a group other than Afghanistan to make a deal. And get things to a phase where the group does not accept any other basis than their own agreement with the US.”
Zarif also said that despite seeing the Taliban as “a reality” in Afghanistan’s future, Tehran continues to classify the group as a terrorist entity over the “many…