Iran, U.S. at loggerheads to affect war on terror in Afghanistan   2010-03-10 23:39:42 FeedbackPrintRSS

by Abdul Haleem

KABUL, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Despite confrontation over nuclear issue, Middle East and numerous other international subjects, both Tehran and Washington are in consent to fight militancy in Afghanistan but their confrontation would negatively affect the war on terror.

Since Iran considers the long-term presence of U.S.-led western troops in its eastern neighbor as a threat to its security, believing the military buildup is not the way to win the war against terrorism.

Presently there are 113,000 NATO-led troops with 67,000 of whom Americans in the post-Taliban Afghanistan and the number would soar up to 150,000 by the end of the year.

Surge in troops, experts believe would add to the security concern of Tehran as Iranian government described the U.S.-led western force as occupying one and calls for its withdrawal.

Didn't hide Tehran's demand, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his one-day tour to Kabul Wednesday said that military presence is not the solution to Afghan imbroglio. "We do not believe that the presence of troops can solve the problems of Afghanistan, rather supporting the Afghan government is the solution to the problems," Ahmadinejad told a joint press conference with his Afghan counterpart President Hamid Karzai.

He further emphasized that Iran has always stood by the government and the people of Afghanistan and has no role in destabilizing this country.

Ahmadinejad also questioned the honesty of United States in war against terrorism and said, "This is not the method of fighting terrorism to bombard wedding parties and to kill innocent people."

The remarks were a reference to the bombardments of U.S.-led forces against suspected Taliban hideouts in southern Uruzgan provinces couple of years ago which left dozens of civilians dead.

The outspoken Iranian president also shot back to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates who during his visit to Afghanistan on Monday, according to media reports accused Iran of playing "double game" in Afghanistan.

Washington itself is playing double game in the war-torn country. Pentagon chief during his visit to Afghanistan on Monday repeated Washington's long-term commitment towards Afghanistan in war on terror, saying U.S. would stand alongside Afghan people unless and until terrorists are defeated.

He also backed the notion of the Afghan government to increase the strength of its national security forces up to 300,000 by the end of year.

Questioning the honesty of U.S.-led war on terror, President Ahmadinejad said that overcoming terrorists requires intelligence cooperation and not military invasion, adding, "Iran did not use army in arresting Regi, who has been accused of organizing terrorist attacks in Iran.

Tehran, according to experts, believes that U.S. would use Afghan soil in case of any attack against Iran and that is why the Iranian leadership has been demanding the withdrawal of U.S.-led western troops from Afghanistan.

Allaying Tehran's concern over the presence of NATO-led troops in Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai categorically said that Afghan government would not allow anyone to use its soil against its neighbors.

Meantime, experts are of the view that Iran would neither support the long-term presence of U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan nor the victory of extremist Taliban outfit in its eastern neighbor.

However, continued loggerheads between U.S. and Iran the two key players in Afghan issue would benefit militants while their cooperation would help overcome the militancy in Afghanistan as well in the region.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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