“The Islamic Republic of Iran warns that foreigners and aggressors may cash in on the new situation in this country and trigger a fresh round of killing and bloodshed in Afghanistan,” Zarif said on Sunday.
“From our standpoint, aggressors and occupiers must concede defeat and leave Afghanistan as soon as possible,” said Zarif.
He said Tehran is urging all sides involved in the conflict to exercise self-restraint.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran calls on all warring sides to exercise restraint, stop fratricide and seriously avoid shedding the blood of innocent people and individuals until a permanent ceasefire and national reconciliation agreement is reached,” he added.
Zarif underlined Iran’s readiness to contribute to efforts aimed at securing a reconciliation accord.
“While respecting Afghanistan’s sovereignty and stressing that any peace process should be owned and directed by Afghan people from all walks of life, the Islamic Republic of Iran stands ready to take part in consultations and discussions with all warring sides in Afghanistan in a regional initiative together with Afghanistan’s neighbors and government as well as all groups in the country in order to stop the shedding of innocent people’s blood and ease the achievement of a lasting agreement, and will spare no sincere and nonpartisan effort in that regard,” he said.
On Saturday, US President Donald Trump claimed canceling peace talks with leaders of Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents in a resort near Washington after the notorious militant group claimed responsibility for a recent Kabul attack that killed an American soldier and 11 others.
US diplomats have been talking with Taliban representatives for months seeking to agree to a plan to withdraw thousands of American troops in exchange for security guarantees by the Taliban.
A source close to the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan stated that the group will hold a meeting to discuss all aspects of ongoing negotiations before issuing a statement.
“Trump’s tweets do not clarify if the deal has been canceled, he has just called-off the talks at this stage,” the source added.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani urged the Taliban on Sunday to end violence and talk directly to his government after Trump announced he had canceled a planned meeting with the insurgent group over a draft peace accord.
“Real peace will come when Taliban agree to a ceasefire,” Ghani’s officials said in statement in response to Trump’s cancellation of the secret peace talks.
A close aide to Ghani noted that Trump’s decision to cancel talks at a time when the Taliban continue to mount attacks proved the concerns expressed by the Afghan government about the deal were acknowledged.
“We stand with President Trump’s decision…the outcome of the draft deal did not guarantee a lasting peace in Afghanistan,” the aide stated on conditions of anonymity.
Trump’s surprise announcement left in doubt the future of a draft peace accord worked out last week by Zalmay Khalilzad, the special US envoy for peace in Afghanistan.
On Sunday, several unnamed sources revealed that US National Security Adviser John Bolton has described a peace agreement that Washington is trying to clinch with the Taliban as irrelevant, reminding President Trump of the deal’s “potential pitfalls”.
As negotiators reached a draft accord last week, Taliban fighters, who now control more territory than at any time since the war started in 2001, were launching assaults on the Northern cities of Kunduz and Pul-e Khumri. They claimed responsibility for two major suicide bombings in the capital Kabul.
Under the accord some 5,000 US troops would be withdrawn over the coming months in exchange for guarantees Afghanistan would not be used as a base for militant attacks on the United States and its allies.
Ghani’s office announced in a statement it was committed to working together with the United States and allies for a “dignified and long-lasting peace”, and emphasized the holding of the presidential election this month.
The statement added that a lasting peace required “a strong, legitimate and a legal government through the upcoming elections to take the ongoing peace process forward with complete accuracy and prudence”.