Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister on Friday said that the Taliban needs to change in “democratic ways” as Afghanistan is different as it was in 2001.

Zarif during his speech at the Raisina Dialogue’s online conference said that the Taliban has to act in democratic ways, and if they want to return with their 90s ideology, it will be impossible because there is a new and different Afghanistan today.

According to Zarif it is very important for the Afghans to agree on what they want and work on it.

Zarif stressed that regional countries should help and support Afghanistan to create what they have agreed on, a democratic government, balanced ethnic representation, and a strong economy.

He urged for a unified region to assist Afghanistan during the peace process, he added, “We need to put aside our differences and focus on our commonalities, including the fact that an Islamic emirate in Afghanistan is an existential threat to Pakistan and a national security threat to Iran and India”.

He added that the role of civil society in Afghanistan has changed and is not comparable to the 90s and 2001.

As issues and problems remain in Afghanistan, and that regional countries need to preserve and ensure the continuity of what has been achieved in Afghanistan during the past two decades, Zarif Added.

This comes as President Ghani assured in a virtual conference organized by Nizami Ganjavi International Center that Afghanistan is not at the brink and at risk of collapse.

US and NATO withdrawal is a context for a reset of assumptions, alignments, and actions, President Ghani said, he added that the narrative of the Afghan government falling apart is false.

There are 40,000 commandos, special forces, and air force members alone, who are trained among the best, they carry 30 to 40 operations every day with precision and determination and are the best of the forces in the region, Ghani said.

According to Ghani as long as Afghan security force members are there, the collapse of the state is just an assumption, and he is proud of being their commander in chief.

He said that people in rural areas are also armed and ready to defend their villages and districts.

The Afghan President said the war is extremely challenging because never before since the Mogol invasion women and religious scholars were killed in targeted attacks.

He added that this unrestricted war needs to end, and following Biden’s decision all actors and stakeholders in the region, in Eurasia, in the Islamic world, and globally are forced to rethink their assumptions, the uncertainty of the withdrawal is now clear which hovered the country for the past two years.

This decision brings an end to the idea that the US/NATO being part of a larger regional competition and Afghanistan a site of competition with other big powers.

Ghani also hoped that this would also end conspiracy theories, he added that Afghanistan is now a narrative of responsibility, partnership, nation-building, peacebuilding, and market-building among others.

He called on regional countries to rethink the parameters of their own security and their partnerships with Afghanistan and that UN will get a renewed importance in its duty as a peacemaker.

President Ghani whined that Strategic Partnership Agreement and Bilateral Security Agreement between Afghanistan and the US remain intact.

Unite states will continue its support to the Afghan National Defense and Security forces and its Humanitarian assistance will continue, Ghani indicated.

It is “a moment of choice for the Taliban. Will they opt for peace that is on the table? Or will they opt for conquest?”, Ghani added, that Biden’s announcement also provides a moment of choice for Pakistan.

It is also a decision of destiny for Pakistan, “Will it opt for regional cooperation, international partnership, and regional prosperity through joint efforts, or will it give way to the forces that have tendered to support and sustain the Taliban and the wave of extremism for which Pakistan next to Afghanistan has probably paid the highest price? So, it is a moment of decision.” Ghani noted.

President Ghani shared his optimism for the sake of peace and he is willing to hold elections in the upcoming 6 to 12 months so that the people of Afghanistan could choose their leader.


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