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Iran ready for greater role in Afghanistan

Source: Press TV

Iran offers a helping hand in remedying the worsening security situation in Afghanistan after Washington called on Tehran for assistance.

Following seven years of occupation and the failure of some 70,000 US and NATO-led troops to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan, Washington called on the war-ravaged country's neighbors to help deal with the situation.

Referring to remarks by the special US envoy to South Asia, Richard Holbrooke, about Iran's key role in Afghanistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Jakarta on Wednesday that in order to deal with Afghanistan, its neighbors must be included.

"Iran is ready to do more than the past for the progress and development of Afghanistan and views the security of Afghanistan as its own security," said first Iranian Vice-president Parviz Davoudi in a meeting with his Afghan counterpart, Ahmed Zia Massoud, in Kabul.

Davoudi also criticized the US and NATO forces for failing to stop terrorism and drug trafficking in Afghanistan, which produces around 90 percent of the world's opium.

In a meeting with the Iranian vice-president, Afghan President Hamid Karzai called on Tehran to play a greater role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and to help the country tackle poppy cultivation.

Iran has donated some 560 million dollars for the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

US reaches out to Iran over Afghanistan

The United States seeks Iran's role in restoring stability in Afghanistan as the security situation deteriorates in the war-torn country.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Jakarta on Wednesday that "in order to deal with Afghanistan the neighbors of that country must be included."

She added that Iran had a 'potential contribution' in Afghanistan, referring to the remarks by the US special envoy to South Asia, Richard Holbrooke.

Holbrooke said in an interview with an Afghan TV network on Sunday that the Islamic Republic of Iran plays a key role in Afghanistan.

"It is absolutely clear that Iran plays an important role in Afghanistan... They have a legitimate role to play in this region, as do all of Afghanistan's neighbors," he said.

Earlier in January, the NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer also said the West could only win the war in Afghanistan if it engages with all the countries neighboring Afghanistan, including Iran.

Washington is reaching out to Afghanistan's neighbors, including Iran, as the security situation worsens in the war-stricken country.

Holbrooke earlier told a security conference in Munich, Germany, that the situation in Afghanistan was 'tougher than Iraq'.

"I have never seen anything like the mess we have inherited," he said, adding that 'there is no magic formula in Afghanistan'.

The US has been attempting to restore security in Afghanistan and grappling with Taliban-led and al-Qaeda militants since the invasion of the country in 2001.

Earlier, the International Council on Security and Development, an influential research center, said in early December that the US and its allies were in a genuine danger of losing Afghanistan as the Taliban continues to expand its influence on almost 70 percent of the country.

... Payvand News - 02/19/09 ... --

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