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Mottaki warns against growing militancy in region

Iranian foreign minister warns that militancy stemming from Afghanistan could spread to the whole Middle East and Central Asia unless it is ‘completely eradicated’.

“What is happening in Pakistan has originated from Afghanistan. We believe that if the roots [of extremism] are not eradicated, then it will spread to the whole region,” Mottaki said in an interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Broadcasting body (IRIB) in Istanbul on Thursday.

“If the extremism in the region is not stopped, then it will spread not only to the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf region but also to India and Central Asia. It will try to involve the whole region,” the minister added.

“There is instability, unrest, and insecurity on both sides of the Islamic Republic [of Iran]. One is in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the other in Iraq. The unrests have a common root which must be completely eradicated,” he further stipulated.

According to Mottaki, some countries outside the region, and specifically in Europe, have started a new scenario aimed at creating insecurity in the countries of the region.

The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext of ousting the Taliban and seeking out al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden following the September 11 attacks.

Afghanistan is still in the grip of civil war, foreign occupation and poverty, nearly eight years after the US-led invasion of the country.

The US-lead occupation forces admit that the Taliban, not only is far from being defeated, but is regaining strength and support, partly because of the public backlash against the massive numbers of civilians being killed in bombardments by the US and its allies.

According to the United Nations, at least 2,000 Afghan civilians lost their lives throughout 2008 in operations by foreign forces.

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