All these neighbors have an influential role in expanding regional cooperation for establishing security and economic development in Afghanistan.” Hossein Sheikholeslam, director general for international affairs in Majlis referring to Afghanistan’s neighbor statesA senior Iranian lawmaker says there is no need for the presence of trans-regional forces in the Middle East and West Asia, as regional states themselves are capable of providing security. Referring to Afghanistan’s neighbor states, namely Iran, Pakistan, China, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan “as well as two distant neighbors" of Russia and India, Hossein Sheikholeslam said, “All these neighbors have an influential role in expanding regional cooperation for establishing security and economic development in Afghanistan.” The director general for international affairs in the Majlis pointed to the recently-signed ‘strategic pact’ between the US and Afghanistan, and said that one of the consequences of the agreement is the continuation of war and the intensification of violence by radical groups. On May 1, 2012, Washington and Kabul signed an agreement to extend the US military presence in Afghanistan to 2024. Shortly after arriving in the war-torn country in an unannounced trip late at night on May 1, US President Barack Obama met Karzai, and both signed the deal that authorizes the presence of US troops for a period of 10 years after 2014, which was the original date agreed upon for the departure of all foreign combat troops from Afghanistan.
The signing of this strategic pact is a good excuse for continuing war and provoking people’s religious sentiments against the government and foreign forces. Regional countries, particularly Afghanistan’s neighbors, are against the establishment of permanent American bases in Afghanistan,” Sheikholeslam added.MYA/HJL/MA