A senior Iranian diplomat says the US-led invasion of Afghanistan has merely led to the deterioration of the security situation in the Asian country, urging enhanced economic ties with Kabul to pave the way for an international fight against terrorism there.
Iranian Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Es’haq Al-e Habib made the remarks on Friday at a Security Council meeting on the issue of Afghanistan’s relations with its Central Asia neighbors and the link between peace and security.
“Afghanistan has not become more secure in the wake of the US invasion,” he said. “The fact is that the invasion of Afghanistan, and basically any invasion in our region, has failed to improve the security situation.”
The Islamic Republic believes that Afghanistan should be turned into a place for international cooperation rather than rivalry, he added.
“In the world today, peace, security and development cannot not be bound to a single country’s borders and can only be achieved within all-inclusive regional frameworks,” the Iranian envoy said.
Al-e Habib further stressed that increasing economic cooperation with Afghanistan promotes the fight against terrorism.
Over the past decade, Iran has stressed the need for reinforcing economic ties with Afghanistan as an approach towards restoring regional peace, the official noted.
Iran has implemented more than 300 infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, worth about $500 million in total, and hosted millions of Afghan refugees over the past three decades, he pointed out.
The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan under the guise of the so-called war on terror. Some 17 years on, the local Taliban militant group has only boosted its campaign of violence across the country, targeting both civilians and security forces in bloody assaults.
More recently, Daesh terror group has also taken advantage of the chaos and established a foothold in eastern and northern Afghanistan.
The Takfiri outfit has stepped up its terror attacks in the war-torn country after losing its bases in Iraq and Syria despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops on Afghan soil.
Daesh elements heading to Afghanistan: Russia
During Friday’s meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that surviving Daesh militants are fleeing from Syria to Central Asia and Afghanistan.
“Northern Afghanistan is turning into a foothold of international terrorism with the Afghan wing of ISIS (Daesh) in the lead,” Lavrov said, adding that the terror outfit is “forming a staging ground to carry out destructive plans in the region.”
The Russian foreign minister further raised concerns about drug production in Afghanistan that “saw an unprecedented growth” last year.
Russia says there are more than 10,000 Daesh terrorists in Afghanistan and that number is growing.
“Urgent measures are necessary to cut off this threat which fuels international terrorism, undermines countries’ stability, the health of the younger generation, triggers crime and corruption,” he said.
US, Pakistan trade barbs
The American and Pakistani officials engaged in a war of words during Friday’s meeting.
US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said Washington can’t work with Pakistan if it continues to give sanctuary to “terrorist organizations.”
In response, Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodi said that Afghanistan and its partners, especially the US, need to address “challenges inside Afghanistan rather than shift the onus for ending the conflict onto others.”
Washington-Islamabad ties sourced last August after the US accused Pakistan of providing a haven for extremist groups that carry out attacks in Afghanistan; an allegation rejected by Islamabad.