Iran General NewsUS surge not helping Afghanistan: Iran FM

US surge not helping Afghanistan: Iran FM

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AFP: Iran’s foreign minister said Tuesday that a US-led surge of troops into Afghanistan had failed to stabilise the country, addressing a key international conference attended by his American counterpart.

KABUL (AFP) — Iran’s foreign minister said Tuesday that a US-led surge of troops into Afghanistan had failed to stabilise the country, addressing a key international conference attended by his American counterpart.

Representatives from 70 organisations and countries gathered in Kabul to hear President Hamid Karzai say that his government was prepared to take over security responsibility from tens of thousands of US-led NATO troops by 2014.

Iran’s Manouchehr Mottaki told the gathering that NATO and US troops had failed to defeat the Taliban, nine years after bringing down their Islamist regime, and instead had exacerbated violence in Afghanistan.

“With increased foreign troops the security situation is getting worse and a positive change is not foreseeable in the near future,” he told the meeting.

“Recent surveys show that insecurity compared to last year has increased tangibly.

“That is why it is clear that increased deployment of foreign forces and foreign military operations has not only not helped the problem but has added to the level of violence,” he added.

He said that Western troops, expected to peak at 150,000 within weeks, was a cause of “insecurity, violence and dissatisfaction for the Afghan public.”

Mottaki also blamed a surge in drugs production in Afghanistan, which is Iran’s eastern neighbour, on “Western money laundering systems”.

Washington has in the past accused Tehran of providing low-level help to some militants in Afghanistan, but former NATO commander in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, said in May that most of Tehran’s role was legitimate.

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