Tehran, November 7, 2023,
Amid impasse on issues such as migrants and water rights between Iran and Afghanistan, a 30-member Taliban “economic delegation” arrived in Tehran on Saturday.
The Afghan delegation is led by Abdul Ghani Baradar, First Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs of Afghanistan and a co-founder of the Taliban along with Mullah Omar.
According to Afghan sources, the delegation, consisting of 30 Taliban officials, were to hold talks with Iranian authorities on trade, transit, transportation, infrastructure, and railways, as well as regional development and the issue of the growing number of Afghan migrants in Iran.
Iran’s capital Tehran hosted the delegation in the framework of an Iran-Afghanistan Joint Economic Committee meeting, the first after Taliban took over Afghanistan in 2021. Iranian Agriculture Minister Mohammad-Ali Nikbakht and President Ebrahim Raisi’s special envoy for Afghanistan Hassan Kazemi-Qomi were among the senior officials representing the Iranian side.
There is little concrete information about the outcome of the meetings, except calls to bolster relations and facilitate trade. However, among the more pressing issues in Tehran-Kabul ties are the issue Afghan migrants in Iran and water rights in eastern Iran, especially over Hirman/Helmand river that is the main source of irrigation water in western Afghanistan and eastern Iran. According to Iran’s state media the two parties agreed to form several taskforces to follow up on the issues of mutual interest.
Amid the escalating Hamas-Israel conflict, the visit by the Afghan delegation can also be related to security issues. Baradar also held a meeting with Iran’s top security chief Ali-Akbar Ahmadian, the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council and a close aide to the Supreme Leader. “Afghanistan will not pose a threat to any of its neighbors,” the Taliban official said according to IRNA.
Source- Iran International