US, Allies Accountable for Afghanistan Problems: Iranian FM

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The foreign minister of Iran pointed the finger at the US and its allies for creating and worsening the present hard conditions in Afghanistan, saying they have supported and guided Daesh (ISIS) and other terrorist and extremist groups in the south and north of Afghanistan.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian delivered a speech to the 4th meeting of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, held in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand on Thursday.

What follows in the full text of his address:

“In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

Your Excellency Mr. Bakhtiar Saeedov

Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan

I would like to thank you for choosing the beautiful city of Samarkand for hosting the Fourth Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan. This initiative has been very successful and resulted in gathering Afghanistan’s neighboring countries in different cities including Islamabad, Tehran, Tun Xi and Samarkand to magnify their united voice worldwide.

Dear Colleagues;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

One year and nine months have passed since Afghan developments and shifts in its political structures. During this period, we have all tried to help stabilize Afghanistan and bring about peace to its innocent people. Under such a framework, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been pioneer in various political, security, economic and social spheres and has significantly assisted the Afghans to pass through the crisis, inter alia, interacting with the Afghan interim government at the highest level, helping Afghan security forces to fight terrorism, maintaining economic and trade exchanges, promoting border cooperation and dispatching tens of humanitarian aid packages to various Afghan cities. On the other hand, hundreds of thousands of new Afghan refugees have been hosted and settled in the Islamic Republic of Iran in the recent period, increasing the number of Afghan refugees in Iran to millions. This is a grave burden, especially in the light of unfair sanctions imposed by the US on the Iranian people and deprivation of international support, which demonstrates the Islamic Republic of Iran’s humanitarian policy regarding the innocent people of Afghanistan.

Distinguished Participants;

Conditions in Afghanistan are critical for us as its neighboring countries, because a stable or instable Afghanistan would directly impact us. However, there are some extra-regional countries that despite years of offence and aggression against this country and causing numerous damages and pains to the Afghan people, still look greedily at this country as an instrument to advance their illegitimate objectives against the regional countries. These extra-regional powers while keeping off Afghanistan should admit responsibility for decades of destruction in this country and compensate it. Afghanistan’s geography cannot be used as a leverage against the regional countries.

Reinforcement of terrorist groups, particularly Daesh, in Afghanistan and moving its experienced elements from the Middle East to this country are among the plans of the extra-regional countries for Afghanistan and its neighbors. Augmentation of the Daesh operational capacity and expanding its objectives to officials of the Taliban interim government, diplomatic premises, media and cultural centers, Shia Muslims and business activists all verify this claim. The Islamic Republic of Iran advocates coherent interaction among the regional countries to block the expansion of activities by Daesh and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

Dear Colleagues;

All branches of terrorism and extremism are a malady for the countries and their national security in the region and across the world and are at the service of the imperialist objectives of the United States and the West and impose dangers and harms directly on our country.

The US and its allies are responsible not only for destroying, murdering and worsening the present hard conditions in Afghanistan but also fully for supporting and guiding Daesh and other terrorist and extremist groups in the south and north of Afghanistan.

Decades of unrest in Afghanistan proves that the only way to establish peace and security in this country passes through inclusion and participation of all ethnicities and groups at the government. The regional countries’ advice to the Afghan interim government to form an inclusive government is not equal to intervening in its internal affairs but a sympathetic advice to help them govern the country more effectively. Undoubtedly, Afghans themselves will nominate representatives of ethnicities and groups to take part in the government.

The same is true about the rights of women and girls. Although Islam does not put any ban on education and employment of women and girls, concerns of the Afghan interim government to create the required grounds based on Sharia is understandable. Therefore, in addition to direct contribution to the education of the Afghan girls and women, the Islamic Republic of Iran voices its readiness to provide the Afghan interim government with all kinds of hardware and software supports to create the necessary conditions for the education of women and girls. It is noteworthy that currently there are some 700,000 Afghan school students and 40,000 university students studying at the educational centers of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The Islamic Republic of Iran does not define its interaction with the Afghan interim government based on opportunism and profit seeking. Hosting millions of Afghan refugees which incurs billions of dollars on our sanctioned economy annually and Iran’s continued readiness to help the Afghan people in all fields are the best proofs for this claim. At the same time, this does not mean neglecting the other side’s obligations. In the past one year and nine months, the Afghan interim government has failed badly in fulfilling the government’s commitments to its people and its neighbors. Failing to establish security and provide a good livelihood to the people have only led to further migration of Afghan people to and imposition of additional pressures on its neighboring countries, particularly Iran.

On the other hand, increased border tensions, continued drug trafficking and failure to facilitate Iran’s water right from the transboundary water resources does not illustrate a proper picture of reciprocal interaction vis-� -vis the Islamic Republic of Iran’s goodwill and cooperative approach. Changing this approach and putting the Afghan interim government on the track of mutual interaction, accountability and liability, as important elements of good governance, are among the serious and humble demands of the Afghan neighboring countries.

In addition to the bilateral interactions of the regional countries with the Afghan officials, the initiative of the First Meeting of the Special Representatives of Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan to form political, economic and security working committees can be followed to relay jointly these sympathetic advices to the Afghan interim government.

Distinguished Colleagues;

In conclusion, I would like to end my statement by tabling several recommendations and proposals.

First recommendation: We believe that congested regional and especially Afghanistan’s problems can be properly solved and managed through the adoption of a sort of regional cooperation model and pattern to be supported by the United Nations and other international organizations. Afghanistan should turn into a geography of interaction and cooperation for the countries of the region. This requires prohibition of unhealthy rivalry and promotion of assistance to each other with the objective of advancing various economic, social and humanitarian programs and packages. Avenues of cooperation and regional cooperation roadmap through specialized meetings with the presence of the Afghan interim government authorities who will inshallah soon form an inclusive government seem necessary for identifying the projects needed in Afghanistan. The share of Afghanistan’s neighbors in such cooperation and roadmap as well as their financial and executive mechanisms provide the best solution for moving Afghanistan towards stability and tranquility and terminating several decades of hardship for its people. The criteria for prioritizing projects and programs should be covering the maximum demands and immediate needs of the people of Afghanistan and full participation of neighboring countries in them. The best example for such projects is regional and international transit projects which are capable of creating stronger connectivity between Afghanistan and its neighbors and can expand global development roots. In this way, meetings on Afghanistan will be turned from mere dialog to practice and action to realize stability and development in that country and can gradually make us closer to our objectives.

Second recommendation: We emphasize that reducing economic pressure on the people of Afghanistan can affect the movement of refugees and displacement and even the status of terrorist groups. Therefore, international and humanitarian organizations such as the United Nations are expected to step up humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and take necessary measures to improve its economy, peace, security and stability there.

Third recommendation: Cultivation of drugs and smuggling of narcotics have increased in great numbers during 20 years of American occupation of Afghanistan. Moreover, the Western and American intelligence network mafia are presently involved directly in this black trade and its expansion and international organizations and the Afghan interim government must make more serious efforts to stop and confront them. The Islamic Republic of Iran stands totally ready to establish closer cooperation with the international organizations and the Taliban government bilaterally or multilaterally to fight with the world drug problem and the trafficking and trade of narcotics.

The Taliban, during the past two years, have achieved partial success in the fight against Daesh and trouble makers and war mongers. Such a fight should be expanded in view of regional cooperation with the help of international organizations and the Islamic Republic of Iran has contributed during this period to the fight against terrorists in Afghanistan.

Fourth recommendation: The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that girls’ education is an Islamic and human necessity and is prelude to the growth, progress and development of nations. We must see the eradication of obstacles in Afghanistan in this respect. For this, the grounds have been paved for the virtual education of Afghan girls in Iran with all considerations pertaining to Islamic, cultural and civilizational requirements of the region. My country is ready to expand scientific and academic capacities in Afghanistan with the help of the UN and cooperation of the interim government in Kabul.

Fifth recommendation: The United Nations during the past 21 months has failed to demonstrate appropriate efforts in line with its professional, humanitarian and independent duties and obligations towards Afghanistan. It is necessary for the UN to devote more effective efforts to improving the conditions of millions of Afghani refugees in Iran and millions of Afghans who have been internally displaced in Afghanistan.

Sixth recommendation: The Taliban and the interim government are in difficult conditions due to failure to make serious efforts to remove Afghanistan’s main challenges such as the formation of an inclusive government, protection of the rights of Afghan citizens, codification of the constitution and enjoyment of national capacities for the complete fight with terrorism and improvement of Afghan’s economy. They should be aware that if present problems continue to exist in Afghanistan, not only the people of that country but also all the various regional factors and capacities will be negatively affected.

We emphasize that regional cooperation and regional patterns to resolve the problems and crises of the past two years provide reliable grounds for a coordinated discourse and maintaining regional initiatives in the upcoming meeting in Doha.

Once again, I would like to appreciate the Uzbek government for the well hosting of this meeting.

A peaceful and stable Afghanistan is the wish of the people and government of the Islamic republic of Iran.

Thank you for your attention.”

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