Iran and British delegations meet Taliban in Kabul

Delegations of Iran and the United Kingdom met the Taliban leadership in Kabul--for the first time since the group seized power--as the humanitarian crisis worsened in Afghanistan with an acute shortage of food, medicine, and other essentials

Oct 06, 2021
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Iran and British delegations meet Taliban in Kabul

Delegations of Iran and the United Kingdom met the Taliban leadership in Kabul--for the first time since the group seized power--as the humanitarian crisis worsened in Afghanistan with an acute shortage of food, medicine, and other essentials.  On Tuesday, Sir Simon Gass, the British prime minister’s high representative for Afghan transition, and Martin Longden, the chargé d’affaires of the U.K. mission to Afghanistan in Doha, held meetings with Taliban leaders, including foreign minister Ameer Muttaqi and deputy prime minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. 

During the meeting, both parties discussed trade relations, rights issues, and the unfolding humanitarian crisis. This is the first diplomatic visit by the UK officials since the group stormed into Kabul on 15 August, toppling the US-backed Afghan government.

Longden said in a tweet, the discussion covered a wide range of topics, including the humanitarian crisis, terrorism and the importance of safe passage for U.K. and Afghan nationals, and the rights of women and girls.

“It’s early days and unsurprisingly, there are points of difference between us. But such difficult challenges lie ahead for Afghanistan (and beyond),” he tweeted. “It’s right to test if we can engage pragmatically and find common ground — in the interests of both the UK and Afghan peoples.”


A day before on Monday, an Iranian delegation also visited Kabul to discuss bilateral trade, Bilal Karimi, a Taliban spokesperson said. They also agreed to increase the operational timing of the Islam-Qala border crossing, a key western dry port on its border with Iran.

Meanwhile, the UN sounded an alarm over the situation in Afghanistan. It says around 1 million children in the country are at risk of death due to malnutrition in the country.  

“There are millions of people who are going to starve and there is winter coming, COVID raging, and the whole social system collapsed,” said Omar Adbi, UNICEF’s deputy executive director for programs, during a visit to a Kabul children’s hospital.

The country’s health sector is almost collapsed now, with many hospitals and clinics funded by the World Bank have stopped functioning due to a lack of supplies and payment to staff. 

(SAM)