Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban’s acting Foreign Minister who is currently in Iran with a 26-member delegation, held talks with National Resistance Front leader Ahmad Massoud, during which the latter was given assurance about his safe return to Afghanistan, according to media reports.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed the meeting, which was also attended by former Herat Province Governor Ismail Khan, in a tweet on Monday saying: “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan tries to make the situation of Afghanistan safe and conducive for everyone so that there is no opportunity for people to oppose IEA.”
In a different video posted by Mohammad Naeem, a spokesman for the Taliban’s Qatar-based office, Muttaqi was quoted as saying: “Yes, we met with Ahmad Massoud, Commander Ismail Khan, and other Afghans. We assured all of them that they can come back and live an unworried life.”
Although the anti-Taliban National Resistance Front is yet to officially confirm the meeting, Hafiz Mansoor, a member of the alliance, said that it took place, TOLO News reported.
Iranian media reports, quoting Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzada, reported that Tehran hosted the meeting, adding that the Afghan parties had good discussions.
Massoud reportedly fled to Tajikistan last September after the Taliban captured Panjshir Valley, the last province in Afghanistan to fall to the militants following their takeover of the country just a month earlier.
Meanwhile, Khan escaped to Iran after the fall of Herat in August 2021.
Muttaqi arrived in Tehran on Sunday for talks with Iranian officials on political, economic, and transit issues, as well as on the Afghan refugees in Iran.
This is the first official visit of a high-ranking Taliban delegation to Iran since it took over Afghanistan.
In November 2021, an Iranian delegation had visited Kabul during which the two sides discussed bilateral issues.
Although the Iranian government is yet to recognised the Taliban government, sources told TOLO News that Abdul Qayyum Sulaimani, a nephew of the former Herat Governor, has been appointed acting ambassador to Tehran by Muttaqi.