The Taliban administration’s acting foreign minister traveled to Iran to meet his Iranian counterpart, who demanded that Afghan financial assets stranded since the Taliban takeover be released for humanitarian purposes.
A spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday that the visit did not constitute official Iranian recognition of neighboring Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. But Iran’s foreign minister criticized the United States for frozen assets.
“The assets of Afghanistan blocked by America (…) should be used for humanitarian purposes and to improve living conditions in Afghanistan,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said, according to an agency local press after his meeting with Acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.
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“The struggles of the courageous Afghan nation have shown that no foreign power can occupy and rule Afghanistan,” he said.
Die-hard Taliban insurgents took control of Afghanistan on August 15 as US and foreign forces withdrew after a 20-year presence to support his government in Kabul backed by the West.
Since then, foreign governments have struggled to find a way to engage the Taliban to avoid a collapse of the Afghan economy and security while avoiding formal recognition of the new government.
The United States, with the support of some other Western governments, has frozen billions of Afghan central bank assets held abroad and maintained sanctions against members of the Taliban, crippling the banking sector and accelerating the collapse economic.
Some neighboring countries are stepping up calls on the international community to act in response to a humanitarian crisis unfolding in the middle of the harsh Afghan winter.
Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi said the acting foreign minister also met in Tehran with Ahmad Massoud, exiled leader of the Afghan National Resistance Front (NRF).
Karimi said the Taliban assured Massoud and other resistance leaders that they could return to the country “without tension”, but did not provide further details of the meeting.
Massoud could not be reached immediately for comment.
The NRF opposed the Taliban takeover and violent clashes have taken place since August between the two camps in the stronghold of the Panjshir resistance movement, north of Kabul.
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