Tehran is committed to ‘neighborly’ relations with Taliban, Iranian president says
Jack Beyrer • August 16, 2021 1:10 pm
Top Iranian officials are celebrating the United States’ “defeat” in Afghanistan as the Taliban seizes the capital of Kabul and the Biden administration scrambles to evacuate remaining U.S. forces.
President Ebrahim Raisi—the newly elected Iranian leader known for his hardline views and mass murder of regime opponents—applauded the American “defeat” in Afghanistan as an opportunity to “revive life, security, and lasting peace” in the region.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the reign of the will of the wronged people of Afghanistan has always created security and stability,” Raisi said. “While consciously monitoring developments in the country, Iran is committed to neighborly relations.”
Tehran also dispatched Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif to meet with China’s Afghanistan czar, Yue Xiaoyong, on Monday. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China is prepared to pursue “friendly and cooperative” relations with Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
Both countries maintained friendly ties with the Taliban as the terrorist group combated American troops over the past decade. China opened up a secret backchannel with Taliban officials in 2015, and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi has called the group a “crucial military and political force” in the country. Iran has received multiple diplomatic delegations from the Taliban in 2021 alone.
U.S. adversaries are moving to strengthen ties with the Taliban as the Biden administration struggles to respond to worsening conditions in the country. Following the Taliban’s capture of Kabul over the weekend, many Americans remain trapped in the city and behind enemy lines.
The Biden administration sent thousands of U.S. troops and vehicles to assist the withdrawal, which some have compared to the U.S. evacuation of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. Biden has not spoken publicly on the withdrawal since Aug. 10 and is on vacation at Camp David. Biden will give a speech on Afghanistan Monday afternoon, according to the White House.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) blasted Biden’s “unacceptable” response to the international crisis.
“While Afghanistan falls to jihadi militants, our Afghan allies are on the verge of slaughter, and America gets humiliated, President Biden hides out at Camp David,” Sasse said in a statement.”The mission at this point ought to be simple: bolster American troops and firepower until we can get flights running around the clock. The Taliban must not dictate when every last American, our courageous Afghan partners, and their families are off the tarmac.”