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Taliban Foreign Minister Visits Iran For Talks Focused On Refugees, Economic Issues


Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, center, at a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (file photo).

The Taliban-led government in Afghanistan sent its foreign minister to Iran on January 8 to discuss Afghan refugees and a growing economic crisis.

"The visit aims at discussions on political, economic, transit and refugee issues between Afghanistan and Iran," Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi said on Twitter.

The Taliban delegation led by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi has already held a preliminary meeting with Iranian officials, he said.

It is the first such trip since the Taliban seized power amid the collapse of the Western-backed government and a chaotic withdrawal of U.S.-led foreign forces in August.

Iran, which has not recognized the new government formed by the Taliban, is hosting millions of Afghans and fears a new influx of refugees.

Last month its border guards clashed with Taliban fighters along a segment of the border in what Iranian-state media reported was a "misunderstanding" from the Afghan side.

Shi’ite Iran, which shares a 900-kilometer border with Afghanistan, did not recognize the Sunni movement's rule the first time the Taliban held power in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

"Today, we are basically not at the point of recognizing" the Taliban, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a news conference earlier this week.

The Taliban has formed an all-male cabinet made up entirely of members of the group and almost exclusively of ethnic Pashtuns.

It has further restricted women's rights to work and study, triggering widespread international condemnation.

Based on reporting by AFP
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