Afghan Security Requires Homegrown Solution: Iran’s President
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected outright the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan, saying the responsibility for security across that country should be devolved exclusively to the Afghan nation.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is opposed to the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan and the region, and insists that Afghanistan’s security, in terms of repelling a possible foreign attack and in combating internal terrorist forces, should be provided without the presence of any foreign force, and exclusively by the Afghan people themselves,” Rouhani said.
He made the remarks in a meeting with Afghanistan's acting foreign minister, Ahmad Zarar Moqbel Osmani, in Tehran on Wednesday.
"All people in the region want the aliens to leave the Islamic territories and let people take charge of their own affairs," said President Rouhani.
Pointing to the long history of amicable relations between Tehran and Kabul, Rouhani said the Iranian nation and government have always had a high regard for the Afghan nation to the extent that they have hosted millions of Afghan refugees in the past 35 years.
The Iranian president also urged the Afghan government to adopt effectual procedures to curb the poppy cultivation in that country, and also expressed the hope that Tehran-Kabul collaboration would alleviate the famine-related problems.
Osmani, for his part, appreciated Iran for hosting millions of Afghan refugees and migrants, and commended the Islamic Republic for the fight against narcotics trafficking.
“The fight against cultivation and smuggling of narcotics requires international cooperation, and according to the international statistics, Iran has been a forerunner in this regard,” the Afghan official added.
In recent decades Iran has been hit by drug trafficking, mainly because of its 936- kilometers of shared borders with Afghanistan, which supplies over 90% of the world's opium, the raw ingredient of heroin.
Having Afghanistan as a neighbor has turned Iran into a transit route for drug smuggling and consumption. Despite extensive efforts by the government to clamp down on drug trafficking and contain drug consumption, the issue continues to pose a major challenge to Iranian society on many levels.
The United Nations has estimated in the past that opium trafficking accounts for up 15 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product, but the figure is expected to rise as international military and development spending declines with the NATO withdrawal at the end of 2014.