Iran General NewsIran says will host regional meet on Afghanistan

Iran says will host regional meet on Afghanistan


AFP: Iran said on Tuesday it will soon host a regional meeting on stabilising Afghanistan to be attended by the neighbours of the war-ravaged country.

TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran said on Tuesday it will soon host a regional meeting on stabilising Afghanistan to be attended by the neighbours of the war-ravaged country.

The conference would be part of “concrete actions that we (Iran) are adopting to fight drug-trafficking, extremism and to seek solutions” for stability, foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.

The official, who was speaking to reporters, did not indicate when the conference would be held.

“If other countries want to help, they should support these regional efforts to resolve crises and avoid creating obstacles,” he added in reference to the international community, including the United States.

Mehmanparast also said that Iran’s archfoe the United States was aware how “important” Tehran was for the stability of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Last week Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hosted a mini-summit with his Afghan and Tajik counterparts in which he denounced the deployment of foreign troops in Afghanistan and insisted regional countries resolve issues there.

Kabul has good relations with Tehran despite being heavily reliant militarily and financially on the United States, which has been at loggerheads with the Islamic republic for more than three decades.

But despite their rivalry, Washington and Tehran are both sworn enemies of the extremist Sunni Muslim Taliban militia which ruled in Kabul from 1996 to 2001, before being overthrown in the US-led invasion.

The United States has made a number of efforts to involve all of Afghanistan’s neighbours, including Iran, in restoring stability to Afghanistan.

But they have been complicated by the lack of diplomatic relations between Tehran and Washington.

Shiite Iran, which has close ethnic and religious ties with Afghanistan, has long suffered from the effects of opium production in its eastern neighbour, with easily available heroin fuelling a big rise in drug use at home.

Afghanistan is the source of 90 percent of the world’s heroin.

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