Former Afghan President Blames US for Spread of Terrorism in Afghanistan
TEHRAN (FNA)- Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai in a virtual meeting hosted by Tehran blasted the US military presence in Afghanistan for its adverse effects on that country.
Karzai made the remarks in an online meeting hosted by Iran and dubbed "Afghanistan, Sustainable Peace and Security".
"The United States entered our country in 2001 under the pretext of 9/11, and the international community accepted the presence of foreigners in our country. Although the United States made progress in some fields, it has suffered setbacks on the military and counterterrorism fronts, and the counterterrorism work contradicted their announcements and instead strengthened terrorism. Now, after 20 years, the withdrawal of the Americans is taking place in such a way that new terrorist groups have emerged and the people of our country have been oppressed," the former Afghan president said.
Karzai, meantime, called for immediate peace in Afghanistan.
He reiterated that the meeting held in Tehran is an important step in this regard.
"We thank the Iranian brothers and hope that the ongoing negotiations in Qatar will have the favored result for the people of Afghanistan," he said.
In relevant remarks on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister’s Assistant and Director General of the Foreign Ministry’s West Asia Department Seyed Rasoul Mousavi warned Afghan groups not to lose the opportunity to reach peace through dialogue and understanding.
Mousavi who has just returned from Kabul, wrote on his twitter page that Afghanistan has no way out but dialogue, understanding, compromise, forgiveness, closing eyes to the past and looking into the future.
The Iranian diplomat added that he had just returned home from Kabul, expressing concern about what was happening to Afghanistan.
“Opportunities pass like clouds. The opportunity of peace must be taken today, not tomorrow, as it might be late,” he added.
Mousavi travelled to Kabul in recent days to meet several senior Afghan officials, including Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah.
In meeting with Abdullah earlier this week, Mousavi stressed the need for increased efforts to prevent civil war among Afghan groups.
"Iran supports putting an end to the situation in Afghanistan and resolving the crisis through dialogue," the Iranian diplomat said.
Abdullah, for his part, appreciated Iran for supporting the Afghan peace process, terming regional states’ cooperation in peace and stability as significant.
He said that war is not the solution, adding that no side can benefit from the continuation of the conflicts in the country.
"We have always called for a peaceful solution to our differences and abide by our commitment, but we do not allow anyone to force their will on us," Abdullah further noted.
Iran shares more than 900 kilometers of border with Afghanistan. The provinces of Herat, Farah and Nimroz in Afghanistan are bordered by the provinces of Khorassan Razavi, South Khorassan and Sistan and Balouchestan in Iran.
Over the past weeks, the Taliban have overrun areas in Afghanistan bordering five countries – Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, China and Pakistan.
Last week, the militant group claimed that it had seized control of 85 percent of Afghan territory, a declaration government officials dismissed as part of a propaganda campaign.
The Taliban gains come amid the withdrawal of US-led troops from the country after two decades of war and occupation.
Earlier this month Tehran hosted talks among different Afghan groups.
The Afghan leaders participating in Tehran meeting in a statement underlined the need for ending war and conflicts to resolve the crisis in the country, hailing Tehran's efforts to this end.
The statement issued in 6 paragraphs was confirmed by the officials of the Afghan government and the Taliban political leaders who attended the second day of intra-Afghan talks in Tehran.
"The delegations commend the efforts and goodwill of the Islamic Republic of Iran in securing peace in Afghanistan as well as its hospitality toward Afghan representatives," the statement said.
"Stating that war is not the solution to the Afghanistan crisis, both sides agree that the continuation of the civil war is dangerous and it would hurt Afghanistan's situation. All efforts must be directed towards a political and peaceful solution," it added.
"The conversations took place in a cordial atmosphere and all issues were discussed in detail and explicitly," the third paragraph of the statement said.
"Some critical issues such as permanent peace, the agreed Islamic system, and how to achieve it, will be discussed and concluded during the next meeting, which will be held as soon as possible," it underlined.
"The parties consider the intra-Afghan meeting held in Tehran as a new opportunity to strengthen the political solution to the Afghanistan problem," the statement said.
"Both sides strongly condemn the attacks on homes, offices, mosques, hospitals as well as the destruction of public institutions that result in the death of Afghans, and demand that the perpetrators be punished," it concluded.
During the first round of intra-Afghan talks in Tehran earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed the Islamic Republic of Iran's readiness to support the process of intra-Afghan peace talks in order to resolve the current conflicts and crises in Afghanistan.
The delegation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was chaired by Yunus Qanuni, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, and the Taliban delegation was headed by Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the deputy head of the Taliban’s political office in this round of talks.