Iran TerrorismUS ambassador questions Iranian interests in Afghanistan

US ambassador questions Iranian interests in Afghanistan

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AFP: The US ambassador questioned Wednesday Iranian policy towards Afghanistan, also saying there was no doubt insurgents here had received weapons from Iran. KABUL (AFP) — The US ambassador questioned Wednesday Iranian policy towards Afghanistan, also saying there was no doubt insurgents here had received weapons from Iran.

William Wood, addressing Afghan MPs and diplomats, described the relationship between Afghanistan and its western neighbour as complicated.

“It is not clear to me what Iran’s policy towards Afghanistan is.

“There are from time to time difficulties and certainly there is no question that elements of insurgency have received weapons from Iran,” he said.

US and British officials have made similar allegations although some have said it is not clear if Tehran is directly involved in arming insurgents.

Kabul has said there is no proof.

Wood also cast doubt over Iran’s financial assistance to post-Taliban Afghanistan.

“Iran is providing assistance to Afghanistan: whether that is meant to assist Afghanistan or influence Afghanistan, I leave that to you,” he said.

And he criticised Iran’s forced repatriation over winter of thousands of Afghan nationals in the neighbouring country illegally. The issue is a sore point in relations between Tehran and Kabul.

Wood, perhaps the most influential foreign diplomat in Kabul, said Afghanistan’s relationship with Pakistan was also complicated but better cooperation between them was “crucial.”

Pakistan saw last year an explosion in extremist violence, much of it linked to the Taliban.

The extremist movement came to power in Afghanistan in 1996 with the help of Pakistan and was driven out five years later in a US-led invasion. They are now leading a deadly insurgency.

Turning to his own country, Wood said the United States was “absolutely committed” to a relationship with Afghanistan that was respectful and “supportive of a stronger government.”

Afghan officials said this week the government rejected the appointment of Paddy Ashdown as the next UN special representative because it appeared he would have had too much authority at the expense of the Kabul administration.

The United States had been one of the key backers of Ashdown, a senior British politician.

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