In Washington Karzai called Iran a "helper" in a CNN interview. But later Bush said, "I would be very cautious about whether the Iranian influence in Afghanistan is a positive force."
U.S. officials also claim that Tehran is funneling weapons into Afghanistan to undermine U.S. and NATO troops fighting Taleban guerillas.
Bush could not hide his anger over the warm reception given to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Tehran last week, and said, "If the signal is that Iran is constructive, I will have to have a heart to heart with my friend the prime minister because I do not believe they are."
He may again become angry when he sees the Iranian and Afghan presidents greeting each other cordially, especially since he has been accusing Iran of helping the Taleban.
But Mr. Bush and his friends should look elsewhere for the reasons for the insecurity in the country and the resurgence of the Taleban.
Also, they should not be so naive as to believe that the Afghanistan issue was neglected after the Iraq war began.
The reconstruction of Afghanistan never materialized and drug production, the main engine of instability in Afghanistan, has reached record levels, to the extent that the United Nations is expected to reveal this month that Afghanistan broke its own record for poppy production last year.
It is a joke to say that Iran is not "a positive force" in Afghanistan.
Contrary to the approach of the U.S., which had open contacts with the Taleban before September 11, 2001, at that time Iran was supporting the Northern Alliance, which was fighting against the Taleban.
In addition, the murder of Iranian diplomats by the Taleban in Mazar-i-Sharif on August 8, 1998 was a clear example of the Taleban's animosity toward Iran.
Iran's assistance to the Afghan people is common knowledge. Iran rushed to help the Afghans when the Soviet Army invaded the Central Asian country in 1979. Even Saddam Hussein's war against Iran did not stop Tehran from helping Afghanistan.
Iran has hosted millions of Afghan refugees since the Soviet invasion. In contrast, today the United States refuses to accept even a small number of Iraqis who have become homeless as result of the U.S. occupation.
Tehran even pledged $500 million for the Afghan reconstruction fund at the Bonn conference in late 2001.
In an article published in the Washington Post on July 22, James Dobbins, the former U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan, wrote: "As the American representative at the UN conference in Bonn, Germany, where this agreement was reached, I worked closely with the Iranian delegation and others. Iranian representatives were particularly helpful.
"It was, for instance, the Iranian delegate who first insisted that the agreement include a commitment to hold democratic elections in Afghanistan. This same Iranian persuaded the Northern Alliance to make the essential concession that allowed the meeting to conclude successfully."
Clearly, Iran has suffered the most from the instability in Afghanistan since 1979, especially from drug trafficking.
Thus, Iran sincerely wishes for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan, which is a sentiment the Afghan president and people are aware of and appreciate.
... Payvand News - 8/14/07 ... --