U.S. in no legal position to determine Afghanistan’s future: Tehran

March 1, 2020 - 14:32

TEHRAN — The United States is in no legal position to sign an agreement that determines the future of Afghanistan, says Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi.

“The U.S. has no legal status for signing a peace deal or deciding the future of Afghanistan,” Mousavi said in a statement on Sunday.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran regards U.S. measures as attempts to legitimize the presence of its forces in Afghanistan and it disagrees with them,” he said.

He said the Islamic Republic believes reaching a deal to establish sustainable peace in Afghanistan will be achieved only through Afghan-Afghan talks and with cooperation of that country’s political groups including Taliban and by taking into account the considerations of Afghanistan’s neighbors.

After nearly two decades of war, the United States and the Taliban signed an agreement on Saturday aimed at paving the way for complete withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran, while respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, is ready to offer any help for establishment of peace, stability and security in Afghanistan, in line with its own national security strategy,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman says.The agreement came after months of negotiations in the Qatari capital of Doha, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who earlier arrived in Doha, witnessing the signing of the accord.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has welcomed any development leading to peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Mousavi said, but he clarified that Iran only supports efforts that are led by the Afghans.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan is illegal and is one of the main reasons behind war and insecurity in that country,” he said.

The spokesman also said the withdrawal of foreign forces is a prerequisite to reach peace and security in Afghanistan and any measure that enables the withdrawal of them will contribute to peace in that country.

He argued that the United Nations has the capacity to facilitate Afghan-Afghan talks and to oversee the implementation of any struck agreement.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran, while respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, is ready to offer any help for establishment of peace, stability, and security in Afghanistan, in line with its own national security strategy,” Mousavi remarked.

“We hope that a government takes office in Afghanistan which will have friendly and brotherly relations with its neighbors and will be able to root out terrorism,” he added.

Under the U.S.-Taliban agreement, the Taliban have agreed to sever ties with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups and sit down for peace talks with the Afghan government. In return, Washington will start a phased withdrawal of troops.

According to the New York Times, the war in Afghanistan in some ways echoes the American experience in Vietnam. In both, a superpower bet heavily on brute strength and the lives of its young, then walked away with seemingly little to show.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Naeem, a Taliban representative in Doha, described the deal as “a step forward.”

Commenting on the accord, another senior Taliban official said that the U.S. was forced to leave after suffering humiliating defeats at the hands of the militant group and lost ground across Afghanistan in recent years.   

“There is no doubt we have won the war, there is no doubt, otherwise the foreign forces (would not) have come to leave Afghanistan,” AFP quoted Abbas Stanikzai, a Taliban negotiator, as saying.

Minutes before the deal was signed, a joint statement released by the U.S. and the Afghan government said that the American and NATO troops would withdraw from the war-raved country within 14 months.

“The United States will reduce the number of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan to 8,600 and implement other commitments in the U.S.-Taliban agreement within 135 days of the announcement of this joint declaration and the U.S.-Taliban agreement,” the statement read.

MH/PA

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