Afghan president calls for long-term relations with Iran

January 9, 2021 - 20:17

TEHRAN - President Ashraf Ghani said on Friday that the Afghanistan government must have short-term, medium-term and long-term relations with Iran.

But the U.S. sanctions, the Afghan president noted, have overshadowed the Tehran-Kabul relations.

Two million Afghans live in Iran, and our relationship must be based on mutual interests, President Ghani said in an interview with CNN, adding that he hopes that the resumption of talks between the United States and Iran will have positive results for Afghanistan.

Ghani also addressed the issue of peace with the Taliban, saying that the Afghan society doesn’t want to go back.

“One thing needs to be clear; the Afghan society is not willing to go back and we’re not a type of society that the Taliban-type approach of the past can be imposed on us. That was the peace of the graveyard. We want a positive peace where all of us together overcome our past, embrace each other and together rebuild an Afghanistan that can be what I call a roundabout,” the president noted, calling on the U.S. to chart a predictable process for withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan.

Ghani pointed out that the U.S. has lost 98 lives in Afghanistan since 2015 “while we the Afghan people have lost over 40,000 civilians and military… We’re assuming responsibility for our future, so if the U.S. would like to withdraw, all we ask for is a process that is predictable.”

Iran has also called for a responsible U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. In a recent meeting of the UN Security Council on Afghanistan, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, voiced support for Afghan peace talks, saying the success of the talks “requires flexibility and patience by all sides, placing the interests of the people of Afghanistan above all other interests.”

Takht-Ravanchi expressed concern over the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan but at the same time called for an “orderly and responsible” withdrawal of these forces.

“As a manifestation of external interference, the presence of foreign forces is another source of Afghanistan’s instability. However, as many countries have stressed, their withdrawal must be orderly and responsible and must not lead to a security vacuum in Afghanistan. Accordingly, prior and simultaneous to the withdrawal of foreign forces, Afghanistan’s military and security forces must be supported and strengthened,” the Iranian diplomat said.

“Afghanistan’s decades-long insecurity and instability can end only through a comprehensive and inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, involving all Afghan factions, including the Taliban, supported by neighboring, regional and international partners,” he noted.

SM/PA

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