Iran urges OIC action as Daesh seeks to sow sectarian rift in Afghanistan

October 19, 2021 - 22:11

TEHRAN - Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Monday that Daesh attacks in Afghanistan are aimed at sowing religious discord in the crisis-hit country, urging the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to condemn such attacks, Press TV reported.

Abdollahian made the remarks in a phone call with OIC Secretary General Yousef al-Othaimeen on Monday.

Pointing to the acts of terrorism by Daesh in Afghanistan, he threw Iran’s weight behind more active role of the OIC, particularly its chief, in dealing with the ongoing problems in the war-ravaged country.

Noting that said extremist groups are among the most important challenges facing the region, Abdollahian emphasized that the OIC chief and its members should condemn Daesh’s inhumane measures, including the group’s recent “terrorist and criminal” attacks at two mosques in the Afghan cities of Kunduz and Kandahar.

More than 60 people were killed in three back-to-back explosions that hit the Bibi Fatima mosque during Friday prayers in Kandahar. It came just a week after a bomb attack killed more than 50 worshippers and left over 140 others injured at a Shia mosque in the northeastern city of Kunduz.

Both tragedies were claimed by a local affiliate of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which has a long history of attacking Afghanistan’s Shia minority.

“Extremist groups are among the most important challenges of the region.”

In a telephone conversation with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, late on Monday, the Iranian foreign minister also said it is “necessary” that terrorist attacks in Afghanistan be condemned by “all Muslim countries in the world”.

Abdollahian also said the current rulers of Afghanistan should provide security for the people and launch an “effective campaign” against terrorist groups. 

In another phone call with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Iran’s chief diplomat said terrorist attacks on Afghan worshippers coupled with new wave of Afghan refugees have made the duty of the UN heavier than ever.

President Ebrahim Raeisi of Iran said on Sunday that Daesh terrorism seeks to complete a failed mission pursued by Western occupiers in Afghanistan, calling on Afghan officials to use national capacities and ensure security in the country.

OIC says Afghanistan should not turn into terrorist groups’ safe haven

Othaimeen, for his part, outlined the OIC measures to resolve problems in Afghanistan and said the country should not turn into a safe haven for terrorist groups.

He stressed the importance of forming an inclusive government in Afghanistan, observing human rights, particularly rights of women, and showing solidarity with the Afghan people.

Professor Paul Pillar, a nonresident senior fellow of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University, tells the Tehran Times that “the Taliban need to be far more inclusive so that they can credibly represent themselves as a government for all Afghans.”  Pillar says “so far the regime the Taliban have erected is very narrow, consisting mainly of Pashtun men who are not representative of the whole population in terms of ethnicity, religion, or gender.” 

Othaimeen emphasized that the OIC does not discriminate between followers of Islam and believes that all Muslims enjoy equal human rights.

Muslims and worshippers of any religion should not be targeted by terrorist attacks, the OIC secretary general said.  

Othaimeen also pointed to recent talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, expressing hope that such negotiations and contacts would continue and result in positive outcomes for both countries.

Iraq has hosted several rounds of direct talks between Iranian and Saudi delegations since April with the aim of resurrecting relations severed five years ago over a host of issues.

The negotiations were launched under Iran’s former President Hassan Rouhani, and continued with renewed vigor by the new administration headed by Raeisi.

The Iranian foreign minister also praised efforts by the OIC secretariat to help facilitate the reopening of Iran’s mission to the organization in the Saudi port city of Jeddah.

Speaking at his weekly press conference on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia have progressed based on “mutual respect”.

He said the two sides have discussed “bilateral and regional issues” in the ongoing talks, with Iran underlining its concerns in unambiguous words.

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