Taliban Promise Safety for Resistance Leaders Including Ahmad Massoud as They Meet in Tehran

© REUTERS / MOHAMMAD ISMAILFILE PHOTO: Ahmad Massoud, son of Afghanistan's slain anti-Soviet resistance hero Ahmad Shah Massoud, waves as he arrives to attend a gathering in Bazarak, Panjshir province, Afghanistan, September 5, 2019.
FILE PHOTO: Ahmad Massoud, son of Afghanistan's slain anti-Soviet resistance hero Ahmad Shah Massoud, waves as he arrives to attend a gathering in Bazarak, Panjshir province, Afghanistan, September 5, 2019.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.01.2022
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Ahmad Shah Massoud Jr, ethnic Tajik and son of legendary military commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, arrived in Iran last November to meet the Afghan resistance forces' leader and former Afghan cabinet minister Ismail Khan. Massoud was the last leader to leave Afghanistan after leading the anti-Taliban resistance for a few weeks.
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as the Taliban's calls their new government, has assured leaders who fled the country that they will be safe if they return to Afghanistan.
A Taliban delegation, led by acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, met opposition figures Ahmad Shah Massoud Junior and former Herat Governor Ismail Khan on Monday in Tehran.
The Taliban delegation had arrived in Tehran on Saturday to hold talks with senior Iranian officials.
"Yes, we have met commander Ismail Khan and Ahmad Massoud in Iran. We met with other Afghans as well. We assure all of them that they can come back and live in Afghanistan without any worries," Muttaqi said after the meeting.
Muttaqi conveyed to Afghan warlords and the general public who left the country last year that they will not face any security issues in returning to Afghanistan.
"This is home for all of us. Everyone is free to return to their country and live in their homeland. We ask them to contribute to nation-building," Muttaqi underlined.
The Taliban acting Foreign Minister had previously also offered truce and peace to the Massoud-led resistance Front.
The offer has been seen as the result of pressure put on the Taliban by countries such as Iran, Pakistan, and others to form an inclusive government.
Iran has close ties with both the anti-Taliban and the Taliban sides of Afghanistan.
Massoud had tried to form an anti-Taliban alliance and fought for a few weeks after the Kabul takeover but he fled the country, as he could not receive foreign support.
Ismail Khan was governor of Herat, the country's third-largest city, since 2001 until Taliban fighters took over the country last August.
The world powers have been putting pressure on the Taliban to form an inclusive government representing all communities, including women. Since taking power on 15 August 2021, the Taliban have grappled with a severe economic crisis and soaring inflation as the national economy has contracted by around 40 percent.
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