Afghan Taliban Delegation Visits Iran to Discuss Regional Issues

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Mushtaq Yusufzai and Fazul Rahim

A high-ranking delegation from the Afghan Taliban has visited Iran to discuss regional issues, according to officials.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid called the recent visit "ordinary," saying in a statement that Muhammad Tayyab Agha — head of the group's Qatar-based political office — led the delegation. It was not the Taliban's first visit to Iran, he added.

When asked about the visit at a weekly press conference on Wednesday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said she had no information about the meetings but was not denying they took place.

Two senior members of the Afghan Taliban political office in Qatar confirmed to NBC News that the delegation met with high-ranking members of Iran's civilian and military leadership to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and the broader region.

"It was very fruitful visit and Iran assured us of their full support and cooperation in resolving the issues in the region," one of the Taliban leaders in Qatar told NBC News. Another Taliban official said it wasn't the first time one of their delegations had visited Iran.

The trip marks a curious development for two sides with drastically opposing ideology. Iran is the regional Shiite powerhouse while the Taliban ascribe to a radical version of Sunni Islam.