Afghan Army Chief Tweets Back at Iranian Security Leader

“The Taliban is fighting against the people of Afghanistan, not against the US,” Afghan Chief of Army Staff Gen. Zia said.

Afghanistan’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Mohammad Yasin Zia, in reaction to a tweet of Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said: “Unfortunately, your understanding of the current war in Afghanistan is incorrect. The Taliban is fighting against the people of Afghanistan not against US. We act decisively against a group of enemies of the Afghan people.”

On Wednesday, Shamkhani in a tweet said: “In today’s meeting with the Taliban political delegation: I found the leaders of this group determined to fight the US. Someone who has been under US torture at Guantanamo for 13 years, has not given up fighting the US in the region.”

This comes as Taliban’s deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar visited Iran on Tuesday to meet top Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Baradar on Wednesday met Iran’s National Security Adviser Ali Shamkhani.

Iranian media reports have said that Shamkhani in a meeting with the Taliban’s visiting delegation has clarified that Iran will not recognize a government in Afghanistan that comes through military pressure and war.

“The Taliban are busy with foreign trips instead of talking peace, this indicates that the Taliban is not committed to talks and peace and they are not worried about the continued killings of the people,” said Rahmatullah Andar, a spokesman for the National Security Council (NSC).

This comes amid a reported stalemate in the talks between the peace delegations from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban in Doha.

Sources familiar with the peace talks in Doha have said that the Taliban is reluctant to continue with the peace talks due to a lack of international guarantees about the release of their remaining prisoners and the removal of the names of Taliban leaders from the UN blacklist.

Nader Nadery, a member of the peace negotiating team representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the talks with the Taliban, has accused the group of not showing interest in attending the formal meetings for almost two weeks.

Recently, however, the Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib has said that the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners as part of the US-Taliban peace deal has led to further intensification of war in the country.

Mohib alleged that those released from the jails have returned to the battlefields.

On Wednesday, Chairman of the High Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR) Abdullah Abdullah said that several opportunities for bringing peace in the country have been lost, stating that the country can’t afford the current opportunity for peace to be wasted.

Abdullah said that all Taliban prisoners will be freed, and the names of the Taliban’s members will be removed from the UN blacklist after the Taliban agree to peace.

“We have lost a lot of opportunities, if these opportunities (current talks in Doha) are wasted, then we will not have much time to work—every single day, the people are sacrificed due to the prevailing war,” said Abdullah.