Iran wants foreign forces out of Afghanistan

December 09, 2013 - 11:17:04 am
TEHRAN: Iran wants all foreign forces to leave Afghanistan, President Hassan Rowhani told his visiting Afghan counterpart yesterday amid a row between Kabul and Washington over a long-delayed security pact.

Iran “is opposed to the presence of any foreign force in the region, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and particularly the Islamic country of Afghanistan,” Rowhani told Hamid Karzai, who was in Tehran for a one-day visit.

“Iran is concerned about tensions caused by the presence of foreign forces in the region,” Rowhani added in remarks reported by the state broadcaster on its website, iribnews.ir.

Karzai’s trip to Iran came a day after an awkward visit to Kabul by US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, who did not meet Karzai as is customary, saying the Afghan leader was well aware of the US position on the pact.AFP

Tehran has strongly backed Karzai’s position on the pact.

“They should all leave and leave the security of Afghanistan to its own people,” said Rowhani.

Iran is meanwhile hoping to sign a security pact of its own with Kabul.

Rowhani and Karzai agreed to begin negotiations over a “Comprehensive Friendship and Cooperation Agreement” which would also involve political, economic and cultural affairs, according to the official IRNA news agency.

In Kabul, the two sides signed a separate border and security agreement, an Iranian deputy interior minister said. Iran shares a 936km border with Afghanistan and hosts some 2.4 million Afghans.

AFP

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