Iran Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani (SNSC)

US has no choice except changing its Afghan strategy: Iran

TOLOnews – Despite its 17-year military presence in Afghanistan, the US has failed to achieve its objectives in the country, said secretary of Iran’s security council.

The United States has no other choice, but to change its strategy in Afghanistan, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said on Monday.

According to Shamkhani, despite its 17-year military presence in Afghanistan, the US has failed to achieve its objectives in the country.

“Seventeen years have passed since US brought its military strategy to Afghanistan, but it has failed to bring security to Afghanistan,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Afghan government has said that if someone believes that change in the structure of the peace negotiating team will lead to a conducive dialogue, the government is ready to take it into consideration.

“We are ready to bring change on it, if there is a need for it,” said Faraidoon Khazon, deputy spokesman to CEO Abdullah Abdullah.

But, a top Taliban official has told Reuters that the group will not go to Jeddah for peace talks.

The Taliban will not attend planned peace talks with the United States in Saudi Arabia this month, and want to shift the venue to Qatar, Taliban officials said on Sunday, seeking to fend off Riyadh’s push to include the Afghan government in talks, Reuters reported on Sunday.

“Our expectation from Saudi Arabia as a powerful Islamic country and in the view of its influence on the Islamic countries such as Pakistan, UAE and Taliban, helps us in this respect,” said HPC spokesman, Sayed Ehsan Tahiri.

Aside from the reality that the Taliban group considers the US as their main interlocutor, one of the reasons the Taliban refuses talks with the Afghan government, is the structure of the government’s peace negotiating team.

This comes at a time when President Ashraf Ghani’s special envoy for regional affairs on consensus around peace and head of the High Peace Council’s secretariat, Umer Daudzai, is expected to visit Pakistan on Tuesday where he will meet top Pakistani military, religious and political leaders about Afghanistan’s peace process, the HPC’s spokesman said.

“He (Umer Daudzai) will meet Pakistan’s minister of foreign affairs about the peace process in Afghanistan. He will also meet Pakistani army chief, including Pakistan’s influential political and religious leaders, who have a key role in Pakistan’s domestic and foreign policy,” said Tahiri.

“The main reason the Taliban refused to attend the Jeddah meeting is the differences between Qatar and Riyadh,” said political analyst, Fakhruddin Qarizada.

The Afghan government and the HPC have said that no country is allowed to decide on Afghanistan, if there are no direct talks between government and the Taliban.