Iran hosts high-level Afghan peace talks as fighting surges

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has hosted the first significant talks in months between the Taliban and Afghan government representatives. Wednesday’s meeting was not previously announced. It comes as the U.S. completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan, where districts have increasingly fallen to the Taliban. The high-level talks between the warring sides follow months-old discussions in Qatar that have been stalled by a diplomatic stalemate and escalating violence. But even as officials faced each other across the vast tables in Tehran and Iran’s top diplomat pledged to end the crisis, fighting surged in Afghanistan’s western Badghis province. Iran’s foreign minister addressed the delegates, saying Iran stood ready to help after the U.S. pullout.