‘US-led forces’ withdrawal key to Afghan security‘

Iran’s foreign minister says the withdrawal of the foreign forces from Afghanistan would pave the way for the establishment of peace and security in the country.

Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday that the pullout of the US-led foreign troops from Afghanistan would eliminate the grounds for extremism and pave the way for the progress and welfare of the Afghan people.

Zarif made the remarks in a meeting with his Afghan opposite number Zarar Ahmad Moqbel Osmani on the sidelines of the 21st Meeting of the Council of Ministers (COM) of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in Tehran.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but the country is still grappling with mounting insecurity despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops.

Washington, that has more than 43,000 troops in Afghanistan, has promised to withdraw all combat forces from the country by 2014. However, it has been locked in negotiations with Kabul over a strategic partnership beyond 2014.

During the Tuesday meeting, Zarif also expressed Tehran’s readiness to boost cooperation with Kabul in various fields which would set the stage for fighting extremism, war, narcotics trafficking and resolving the problems in border areas.

Osmani, for his part, stressed Afghanistan’s interest in expanding cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

During the two-day ministerial meeting that kicked off in Tehran on Tuesday, Iran took over the chairmanship of the ECO Council of Ministers from the Azerbaijan Republic.

In another meeting with his Azeri counterpart Elmar Mamadyarov, Zarif said Tehran and Baku should work towards improving reciprocal ties.

Mamadyarov, in turn, referred to Iran-Azerbaijan cooperation in the fields of transportation, energy and culture, expressing Baku’s readiness to hold a joint commission between the two countries by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, in a meeting with Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev, Zarif described Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to the country’s capital, Bishkek, as a new chapter in bilateral relations.

Rouhani paid an official visit to Kyrgyzstan in September to participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit on his first foreign trip since taking office on August 4.

The Iranian foreign minister also voiced Iran’s readiness to work closely with Kyrgyzstan in various areas such as agriculture, fishery, technology and dam building.

By Press TV


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