News ID: 263149
Published: 0329 GMT December 18, 2019

Iran says opposes US-Taliban talks

Iran says opposes US-Taliban talks

Iran's top security official said Wednesday the Islamic Republic opposed US negotiations with the Taliban, as the talks excluded Afghan people and government.

"Any strategy, any decision or plan without the participation of Afghan people is wrong and doomed to fail," said Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council.

"The Taliban are a reality of Afghan people that cannot be ignored. But are all Afghans Taliban (members)? No," he added.

Shamkhani was speaking at a news conference following a meeting in Tehran of senior national security officials from Afghanistan, China, India, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Russia.

He accused the US of trying to use the situation in Afghanistan to "create insecurity on the borders of China, Russia and Iran" and described Tehran’s "dialogue on regional security" as proof of Washington's failure to isolate the Islamic Republic.

Shamkhani noted that Tehran did not participate in the US-led negotiations due to having once cooperated with Washington on Afghanistan and having been "put in the Axis of Evil".

The term was first used by former US president George W. Bush in 2002, when he branded three countries – North Korea, Iran and Iraq – as “states that sponsored terrorism”.

A US-Taliban deal had been all but signed in early September, but President Donald Trump scuttled the agreement at the last minute, citing ongoing Taliban violence, including a Kabul bombing that killed an American soldier.

Talks resumed December 7 amid a reduction in violence in Kabul, but were paused after another Taliban attack, this time at Bagram air base north of the Afghan capital.

According to a draft of the September agreement, the Taliban were to commit to security measures, launch a dialogue with the Afghan government and reduce violence in exchange for the withdrawal of American forces.


Daesh relocation

At the Tehran meeting, dubbed the Regional Security Dialogue conference, Shamkhani and his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev warned about the deliberate relocation of remnants of the Daesh terror group from their former Middle East bastions to Afghanistan.

“Since Daesh’s defeat in Iraq and Syria, one of the [pressing] security concerns has been the relocation of the defeated Daesh elements from the two countries to Afghanistan,” Shamkhani said.

The purpose behind the relocation is providing the terror group with a base for planning, organizing and carrying out acts of terror against the Central Asian country and its neighbors, he added.

He named terrorism and radicalism as the most serious challenges facing the region, saying the presence of extra-regional forces in regional states are fueling such threats.

Patrushev, for his part, said Afghanistan currently is home to between 2,500 and 4,000 Daesh terrorists.

The Russian official, meanwhile, pointed the finger at the US for relocating Daesh terrorists to Afghanistan.

This is not the first time that the alarm has been set off about the outfit’s presence in the war-torn country, as well as Washington’s role in transferring its members there.

The Russian official said despite the long-drawn-out US presence, Afghanistan has come to experience more violence.

Washington has no clear-cut plans to leave Afghanistan, he said, adding that the US leadership is of mixed opinions about a potential pullout.

Patrushev also dismissed Washington’s attempts at engaging the Taliban as diversionary and ineffectual, saying the only way out of Afghanistan’s current woes was through direct and unconditional talks between the militant group and Kabul.

He, meanwhile, referred to an increase in drug production and supply in Afghanistan as one of the principal sources of funding terrorism, and said around $600 million in drug deal proceeds are funneled to terrorist outfits in the region each year.

AFP and Press TV contributed to this story. 


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