Zarif urges responsible exit of foreign troops from Afghanistan

November 24, 2020 - 18:13

TEHRAN — Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said Iran has always supported intra-Afghan dialogue owned and led by Afghans themselves, which should include the Taliban, and which preserves the post-2001 achievements.

Speaking at the virtual 2020 Afghanistan Conference in Geneva, Zarif named the post-2001 achievements as the democratic Constitution, the right of the people to self-determination through elections, the rights of religious and ethnic minorities, the rights of women and combatting terrorism.

“The UN should be central in facilitating intra-Afghan dialogue, and Iran stands ready to cooperate,” he said, the Foreign Ministry website reported.

He said it is a tragedy of epic proportions that twenty years after the conference in Bonn, the world still talking about war in Afghanistan. 

For over 40 years, Afghans have endured bloodshed, perpetrated primarily from the outside, Zarif lamented.

“The military approach to building peace has failed, and the presence of foreign troops has been a lingering problem,” the foreign minister noted. “A responsible exit of foreign troops from Afghanistan—with a smooth and effective assumption of their duties by the Afghan security forces—will be a positive step toward a sustainable peace.”

He added, “We all know that poverty and unemployment are fertile grounds for extremism, terrorism, and drug trafficking. Peace will not be sustainable if Afghans have to struggle to simply survive.”

The chief Iranian diplomat also said Iran hosts over 3 million Afghans, using our subsidized food, transport and health services, in spite of the savage U.S. economic war against the Iranian people.

“470,000 Afghan students attend our schools, 22,000 Afghans are being trained by our universities,” he said.

However, Zarif continued, instead of facilitating, the U.S.—through its economic terrorism targeting Iranians and Afghans alike—impedes such cooperation.

Concluding his remarks, Zarif said the world must put the people of Afghanistan before other considerations.

MH/PA

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