Zarif holds talks with Chinese envoy over developments in Afghanistan

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has held talks with China’s special representative for Afghanistan affairs Yue Xiaoyong in Tehran over the latest developments in the Central Asian nation in the wake of Taliban’s takeover of the capital Kabul.

The appointment of Yue, a former Chinese envoy to Qatar, Jordan and Ireland, comes as Beijing has stepped up its diplomatic engagement in Afghanistan following the drawdown of US-led allied troops from Afghanistan.

The meeting between Zarif and Yue came less than 24 hours after the Taliban laid siege to Kabul, forcing the sitting Afghan president Ashraf Ghani to flee to an undisclosed location.

The unfolding events have led to chaos and confusion, with thousands of Afghan civilians and diplomats swarming Kabul airport to take evacuation flights.

At least five people were killed on Monday as US forces opened fire at Afghans desperately trying to board the flights. The US military has taken over security of the airport to evacuate American diplomats.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has started wide-ranging consultations with countries in the region to ensure a peaceful transfer of power in Afghanistan and to prevent further chaos and commotion.

Tehran has repeatedly emphasized the need for dialogue among different Afghan political and ethnic groups and the formation of an “inclusive” government to resolve the country’s crisis.

On Sunday, Zarif welcomed the formation of a coordination council in Kabul to oversee the political transition. In a tweet, the outgoing foreign minister hoped that it can lead to “dialogue and a peaceful transition” in Afghanistan.

“Violence and war — like occupation — never solve problems,” Zarif said, declaring that Iran “stands ready to continue its peacemaking efforts”.

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