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Iran backs India on Taliban
Willing to play facilitator between India, Pak
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 9
Pakistan’s attempt to isolate India on the Afghanistan issue met with strong resistance from Iran today with the Islamic republic warning the Western world of the implications of drawing a distinction between a “good and bad Taliban”. Tehran also expressed its readiness to facilitate negotiations between India and Pakistan, if desired by the two South Asian countries.

Addressing a press conference here on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Iranian Ambassador to India, Seyed Mehdi Nabizadeh, ridiculed the consensus that emerged at the recent conference on Afghanistan in London for reconciliation with the Taliban and bring the militia back into the mainstream of Afghan society.

“There is no good Taliban or bad Taliban. Taliban is Taliban. We believe extremists can’t be allowed to be involved in running Afghanistan. The Afghan Government has to be run with the support of the people and not with the support of extremists,’’ he said, virtually endorsing the position taken by New Delhi on the issue.

Both India and Iran had been invited for the London meet but Tehran declined to participate in it at the last minute realising that the conference would make peace overtures towards the Taliban. While making its stand known at the meet, India went with the consensus at the London meet.

He said Afghanistan’s neighbours - including India and Iran - were duty bound to work for peace and stability in the war-ravaged nation. “We believe regional countries have an important role to play in stabilising the situation in Afghanistan,” he added.



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