Some Taliban supporters in Tehran displayed the group’s flag in Mellat Park, drawing widespread criticism for their actions on Afghan and Iran social media on Friday.
The news made headlines after Aref Ahmadi, a Facebook user, posted a few pictures of the gathering on his Facebook page: “The three-day Eid fire also had a positive effect on the Taliban in Tehran. They travelled freely with their flag and enjoyed the peace and quiet.”
Ahmadi added that he was not allowed to take their pictures initially but when he spoke a little Pashto and wished them on Eid, they “calmed down and I took a few photos.”
طالبان در پارک ملت تهرانآتشبس سه روزه عید بر طالبان مقیم تهران هم تاثیر مثبت گذاشته، بصورت آزادانه و با پرچم بیرنگ…
What Were The Developments?
Following the publication of these images and the widespread reaction to them, the Iranian media, Ensaf News, quoted a guard at the park as saying that around 2:30 pm, several Afghan nationals entered the park and the guards could not prevent them from entering.
They had the flags in bags and only displayed it once they were inside the park.
The guards said, there were around 10 people and as soon as security was informed about their activities, they people were arrested and handed over to the police.
So far, Iranian and Afghan officials have not commented.
“Do Not Support The Taliban”
Following the incident, a number of Twitter users criticized it by launching the hashtag “Do not support the Taliban.”
“The Islamic Republic, which drowns or burns migrants on the border-river, but equips the Taliban and their supporters to raise their flag in the heart of Tehran (Park Mellat),” said Daoud Naji, the recently appointed senior political adviser to the Office of the National Security Council (NSC).
“Taliban are the same group that killed 11 Iranian diplomats and journalists in Mazar Sharif in 1998,” he added.
Qudratullah Rajavi, filmamaker and translater, wrote: The governments of Pakistan and Iran have been repeatedly accused of directly and indirectly supporting the Taliban.
He added that the presence of Taliban-flags in Tehran adds to these claims.
On the other hand, Sasan Aghaei, an Iranian journalist tweeted: “Honourable people of Afghanistan – The presence of Taliban terrorists and assassins in our capital has nothing to do with the real intentions and demands of the Iranian people.”
“We, like you, hate fundamentalists, and our central slogan has been the same all these years – Death to the Taliban, whether in Kabul or Tehran.”
Iran has always stressed that they support an “Afghan-owned, Afghan-led dialogue” and have questioned the U.S. involvement in the peace process.