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Iran Speaks Out Against Afghanistan Occupation

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31 Mar 09 | Press TV

Iran describes foreign presence in Afghanistan as a factor leading to extremism and intense insecurity in the war-torn country.

“The presence of foreign troops will never bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. It encourages extremism,” IRNA quoted Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Mehdi Akhoundzadeh as saying ahead of an international conference on Afghanistan in The Hague on Tuesday.

“Iran supports a regional solution to Afghan woes,” he added.

The Netherlands will host a day-long UN conference on Afghanistan in The Hague on March 31. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and delegates from nearly 90 countries will take part in the conference.

The Iranian envoy suggested that Afghan affairs be delegated to its people as a means to guarantee their future.

“This policy that others (the West) decide for the Afghan authorities and the nation no longer works,” he said.

Iran is a fierce critic of US policies in Afghanistan and has vowed to pool its resources and help counterterrorism and anti-drug efforts in its eastern neighbor.

Tehran has often urged US-led forces to leave the region, saying their departure will ease the situation.

US-led forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to oust the Taliban and destroy al-Qaeda following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.

After more than seven years, the insurgents in the southern and eastern regions have become stronger than ever.

Amid concerns about the growing insecurity in Afghanistan, US President Barack Obama on Friday unveiled new strategies for combating terrorism in the country and promised to do his utmost to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat” the insurgency.

He also proposed setting up a new ‘contact group’, which would include Iran, to tackle the issue.

Obama said that he is sending 4,000 extra troops to Afghanistan along with hundreds of civilian specialists, who are tasked to “accelerate” the training and building of the Afghan army and police force.

After three decades of strained relations between Tehran and Washington, Obama said in a special message to the Iranian nation and its leaders that the US was seeking a “new beginning” with the country.

The United States and Iran have had no diplomatic ties since the aftermath of the 1980 American embassy takeover in Tehran.

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Written by Editors

31 March 2009 at 2:56 pm

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