Sunday Mar 25, 201206:02 PM GMT
'US promotes instability in Afghanistan'
Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi
Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:36PM
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Iran's defense minister insists the American military presence in Afghanistan has contributed to more instability in the country than peace and security.


"The presence of Americans in every part of the world has not contributed to security," Said Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi in a Press TV interview on Saturday.

"The Americans claim that they are after maintaining security in Afghanistan, but they have acted in the opposite way," he added.

"More than 10 years have passed since the presence of the US forces and we have seen the exacerbation of the security situation in Afghanistan," Vahidi said.

He was referring to the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan that was launched with the declared objective of curbing militancy and bringing peace and stability to the country.

The official made the comments during a visit to the Afghan capital of Kabul, where he is on an official visit at the invitation of Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak.

The Iranian defense minister also held a meeting with his Afghan counterpart on Saturday, where the two discussed ways to boost military cooperation between Tehran and Kabul.

Wardak expressed satisfaction over the visit, saying that Iran has always supported Afghanistan in its efforts to resist violence and boost reconstruction.

The Afghan official also called on bilateral collaboration in border security and in the fight aginst terrorism, narcotics, and organized crimes.

Vahidi further stated that Iran would spare no effort to help the restoration of lasting security in its eastern neighbor, noting that relations between Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic run far beyond merely a diplomatic one.

The Iranian brigadier general also met with Afghan Vice President Mohammad Karim Khalili and a number of other senior Afghan political and military officials. He is also scheduled to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai during his official tour of the country.

Vahidi's formal tour marks the first visit of an Iranian defense minister to Afghanistan since the 1979 victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

HN/MMN/AS/MB
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