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Iran won’t allow IS presence on Afghan border: president Raisi

"A government belonging to only one ethnic or political group cannot solve Afghanistan's problems," Raisi said on Saturday, calling for a government with representation for all Afghans.

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Iran will not allow the Islamic State group to establish a presence on the country’s border with Afghanistan, President Ebrahim Raisi warned on Saturday

“We will not allow terrorist organisations and IS to set up next to our border and strike other countries and the region,” Raisi said as he wound up a visit to Tajikistan.

“The presence of IS in Afghanistan is dangerous not only for Afghanistan but also for the region,” he told state television.

The Taliban took Afghanistan’s capital on August 15, exploiting a vacuum caused by the withdrawal of US troops from the country and a collapse by the Afghan army.

Read more: SCO’s new role in Afghanistan; what benefits can Iran reap?

Iran, which shares a 900-kilometre (560-mile) border with Afghanistan, did not recognise the Taliban during their 1996 to 2001 stint in power.

But Tehran has appeared to soften its tough stance towards the Sunni militia in recent times in the name of pragmatism.

The Islamic republic has stressed that the Taliban must be “part of a future solution” in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s new rulers have formed a government composed entirely of Taliban and belonging almost entirely to the Pashtun ethnic group.

“A government belonging to only one ethnic or political group cannot solve Afghanistan’s problems,” Raisi said on Saturday, calling for a government with representation for all Afghans.

Iran’s perspective 

There appears to be broad confusion in Iran about how to deal with the Taliban. Hardline media and some conservative analysts suggested recently that the Taliban has changed and that the group would not be as rigid as it was in the 1990s and might even protect religious minorities.

However, there was strong criticism of this analysis and the hardline Kayhan newspaper, the most prominent medium that gave voice to it has since changed its tune.

Read more: How do Russia, Pakistan, China, Iran and India view the Taliban’s rise in Afghanistan?

There has also been the suggestion that the Fatemiyoun Brigade — Afghan Shi’ites who fought in Syria in support of the Assad regime — could be deployed against the Taliban. But an Iran-based senior member of the Fatemiyoun denied this, and called it “a new game played by American-Israeli media against Fatemiyoun.”

Deploying Fatemiyoun would be a recipe for civil and sectarian war since the vast majority are Shi’ite Hazaras, who faced bloody persecution by the Taliban in the 1990s.

AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk

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