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Iran says trans-regional interference in Afghanistan foments regional insecurity

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani (2nd L) speaks at the fifth round of the regional security dialogue in Moscow on Feb. 8, 2023.

Iran’s top security official has warned that “trans-regional interference” in Afghanistan can lead to the spread of insecurity to other regional countries.

Speaking at the fifth round of the regional security dialogue in Moscow on Wednesday, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani denounced the US’ continuous efforts to turn Afghanistan into a platform for promoting insecurity and terrorism.

“Insecurity, which has always been the bane of Afghans, should not be allowed to become a common bane of all the people of the region through trans-regional interference,” he said.

“Those who played the biggest role in the destruction of Afghanistan are now the most responsible [sides] for covering the costs of rebuilding Afghanistan’s economic infrastructure, and we should not let them evade this responsibility.”

Afghanistan has been in turmoil since the hasty withdrawal of all of the United States’ forces from the country in August 2021, which led the Taliban, who had previously ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, to take power again.

Since then, the United States and its allies have largely suspended their financial assistance to Afghanistan, adding fuel to a refugee crisis that has dramatically affected Afghanistan’s neighbors.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has also frozen billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank.

Shamkhani stressed that the frozen assets belong to the Afghan people and that their release plays a critical role in the country’s reconstruction, saying, “Using these assets should not be hampered by cruel and illegal US sanctions.”

He also expressed Iran’s full readiness to help Afghanistan’s political, economic, cultural and social reconstruction and development.

Iran, he continued, has always stood by the people of Afghanistan over the past four decades through the country’s worst conditions.

“Even now, based on the guidance of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and despite the problems that the cruel, unilateral and illegal sanctions of the United States have created for the Iranian people, the government and people of Iran continue to provide assistance to the people of Afghanistan and welcome a large number of them,” the top security official said.

Shamkhani further stressed that Afghanistan’s security, peace, stability and progress in Afghanistan is Iran’s priority.

The collective efforts of Afghanistan’s neighbors alone cannot contribute to the establishment of lasting peace and stability there, he said, calling on the country’s ruling establishment and other domestic actors to take concrete measures to that aim.

Shamkhani also called for the promotion of national unity in Afghanistan through the political participation of all of its people, saying the country also needs to make serious endeavors to curb terrorist groups.

The Islamic Republic, he added, believes that the imposition of any kind of political system via foreign interference or internal confrontation will only escalate instability and insecurity in Afghanistan.

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