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Afghan official calls Gen. Soleimani key figure in anti-Daesh fight

Afghanistan's second vice president has hailed Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani as a "prominent figure" in the battle against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, saying his assassination has complicated the situation in the region.

Muhammad Sarwar Danish made the remarks in Kabul on Saturday, one day after a US drone strike near Baghdad’s airport targeted Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Hashd al-Sha’abi.

The official also expressed hope that the latest developments would have no negative effects on Afghanistan’s peace process, demanding all sides to exercise restraint in a bid to maintain calm in the region.

On Friday, the Afghan government voiced worries about an escalation of violence in the region. 

“We call on the Islamic Republic of Iran, our big neighbor, with whom we have extensive common language, religious, historic and cultural [values], and we call on the US, who is Afghanistan’s strategic and fundamental partner, to prevent conflict escalations, and we hope that both sides solve their differences through negotiations,” read an Afghan presidential statement.

Separately, Afghanistan’s chief executive of the National Unity Government lamented the US assassination of Soleimani. 

“We express our condolence about this occurrence to Sardar Soleimani’s family, the government and people of Iran,” Abdullah Abdullah wrote on his Facebook page. 

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Iran, he emphasized, has stood with the people of Afghanistan during times of war and strife and been hosting millions of Afghan immigrants for many years. 

Abdullah also said, “As a victim of terrorism and violence, Afghanistan calls for de-escalation of regional and international relations and hopes the latest incidents won’t negatively affect the situation and cooperation of our friends and allies in Afghanistan.”     

Also on Friday, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai condemned the US strike and extended his condolences to the Iranian government and people, describing Soleimani as a “dignified man who sought peace and stability in Afghanistan.” 

Karzai stressed in a statement that the targeted attack violated international laws and risked regional peace and stability.

He warned that the US strike would escalate the conflict and harm efforts to bring peace and stability to the region.

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