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Iran's Zarif Says US Leaving 'Huge Mess Behind' After Agreement With Taliban

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif takes part in the panel discussion 'A conversation with Iran' during the 56th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, southern Germany, on February 15, 2020. - The 2020 edition of the Munich Security Confer

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif on Sunday said the United States has "tendered its surrender" in Afghanistan after 19 years and is leaving while "leaving a huge mess behind".

Zarif made the comments in a tweet in reaction to the peace agreement that the United States and Taliban signed in Doha on Saturday in a ceremony in which Iran was not present. This is the first official reaction of Iran to the peace agreement.

"US occupiers should've never invaded Afghanistan. But they did, and blamed everyone else for consequences … Whether in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq or Yemen, US is THE problem, Zarif wrote in his tweet.

The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said the U.S. is watching carefully to see if Iran takes more active measures to undermine American peace efforts in Afghanistan.

Washington has repeatedly accused Tehran of meddling in the internal affairs of its neighbors by organizing and assisting proxies and militants in places such as Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

The US-Taliban agreement lays out a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from the country within 14 months if the Taliban uphold their commitments.

The negotiations between United States and Taliban to reach the agreement to end war in Afghanistan began in 2018. The agreement could lead to the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has questioned a key component of the agreement. Ghani told a news briefing in the capital, Kabul, on March 1 that his government has made no commitment to free up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners, as set out in the February 29 agreement.

The Western-backed Kabul government was not a signatory of the bilateral U.S.-Taliban deal. "There is no commitment to releasing 5,000 [Taliban] prisoners," Ghani said, adding that any prisoner release was "not in the authority of the U.S., it is in the authority of the Afghan government."

The Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Monday told Reuters said they will not participate in intra-Afghan talks until roughly 5,000 of its prisoners are released.