Press Trust of India

Iran, Taliban officials say US pushing war in Afghanistan

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Tehran: Iranian and Taliban officials met in Tehran on Wednesday and accused the US of provoking the continuation of war in Afghanistan, Iranian State TV reported.
Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, told visiting Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar that the US seeks to continue the war in neighbouring Afghanistan.
The US strategy supports the continuation of war and bloodshed among various Afghan groups in the political spectrum, Shamkhani was quoted as saying.
He said the US tries to blame insecurity and instability in the country on individual Afghan groups.
There was no immediate comment from the US, which signed a peace agreement with the Taliban last February and met its goal this month of reducing the number of troops in Afghanistan to about 2,500.
Taliban representatives and the Afghan government earlier this month resumed peace talks in Qatar, the Gulf Arab state where the insurgents maintain an office. The stop-and-go talks are aimed at ending decades of conflict.
But frustration and fear have grown over a recent spike in violence, and both sides blame one another.
Baradar, who arrived Monday with a Taliban delegation, criticized the US for allegedly breaking its commitments to the February deal. He did not elaborate.
We do not trust the US and will fight any group that is a mercenary for the US, he said.
Occasionally, Iranian and Taliban officials meet for what Tehran says are talks aimed at helping facilitate intra-Afghan dialogue.
Iran sees the presence of US forces in neighbouring Afghanistan and Iraq as a threat on its doorstep and routinely calls for their departure. Iran and Afghanistan have some 945 kilometers (some 585 miles) of common border. (AP)


Press Trust of India

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