SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 1 February 2023, Wednesday |

Iran calls on Taliban to ensure safety of its diplomats in Afghanistan

The Iranian  Foreign Ministry today urged the Taliban to ensure the safety of its diplomats and staff at its consulate in the western Afghan city of Herat, which the Taliban has said it has captured, Reuters reports.

“Considering [the] Taliban’s dominance over the city of Herat, we draw their serious attention to ensuring the complete safety and health of diplomats and diplomatic facilities,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Twitter.

Western embassies and aid agencies began evacuating civilian staff from Afghanistan today after the Taliban said it had captured Herat and another big city in an advance that has raised fears of the collapse of the US-backed government.

“Our diplomats, like the diplomats of the three other countries present in Herat, are in perfect health and security and have no concerns,” Iranian Foreign Ministry official Rasoul Mousavi earlier said on Twitter.

In 1998 Tehran nearly went to war when Taliban militants killed at least eight Iranian diplomats and an Iranian journalist at the Iranian consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

“The administration of Herat has been taken over by the forces of the Islamic Emirate (Taliban). The consul general, diplomats and staff … are inside the building. I am in regular contact with them,” Mousavi, director-general for West Asia at the foreign ministry, tweeted earlier.

“The forces administering the city are committed to (ensuring) the complete security of the Consulate General, its diplomats and staff,” Mousavi said without elaborating.

In July, Tehran hosted a meeting of Afghan government representatives and a high-level Taliban delegation and offered to help end the crisis in Afghanistan.