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Iran is undermining Afghan peace process: Pompeo

Salaam Times

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference in Washington January 7. [Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP]

WASHINGTON -- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday (January 7) accused Tehran of working to undermine peace efforts in Afghanistan.

Pompeo's comments came days after a US drone killed Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), in Baghdad on January 3.

"In Afghanistan, there was an aspect of that conflict that deserves more attention, and that is the Islamic Republic of Iran's involvement there," he said at a news conference in Washington.

"Iran has refused to join the regional and international consensus for peace and is, in fact, today actively working to undermine the peace process by continuing its long global efforts to support militant groups there," Pompeo added.

"Most people know about Iran's proxy networks in the Arab world, but the regime also has a relationship with the Taliban. The Taliban's entanglement in Iran's dirty work will only harm the Afghanistan peace process," he said.

This is not the first time the United State has accused the Iranian regime of working with militants to destabilise Afghanistan.

More evidence has come to light that Tehran is supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan militarily, logistically and financially, a US Defence Intelligence Agency report revealed last November.

"Iran's relationship with the Taliban has evolved over the years," according to the report released on November 19.

Public confession of Iranian backing of Taliban

Taliban and Iranian officials publicly admitted at a security forum in Herat city last October that the militant group is receiving support from the Iranian regime.

"I confirm that Iran, Russia and Pakistan support the Taliban," Mullah Mutasem Agha Jan, the minister of finance during the Taliban regime (1996-2001) and former political representative of the Taliban Quetta Shura (council), said at the Herat Security Dialogue held in Herat city October 18-19.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad announced a pause in renewed peace talks with the Taliban last month after the militant group claimed responsibility for a December 11 attack near Bagram Air Base that killed at least two Afghan civilians, including one woman, and wounded at least 73 others.

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Iran, not only in these days, but also over the past two decades has tried to support and encourage Taliban to fight against Afghan government and American soldiers. Iran does not let the Taliban to join the peace process. We had many evidences in the past that Iran had sent weapons to the Taliban. I myself witnessed that Afghan military officials showed ammunition to the media bearing the name of Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran and Pakistan are the two chronic enemies of Afghanistan. These two countries never want a powerful government in Afghanistan. They don’t want America to work with Afghan government regarding security, progress and development of the country. They want America to withdraw as soon as possible from this country (Afghanistan), and Taliban to take over power. They don’t want an educated person like Ashraf Ghani to be on the lead of Afghanistan to build electricity dams, to control water of the country that flows to Iran and Pakistan. You saw some years back that Iranian president Hassan Rouhani clearly said that he could not remain indifferent against the construction of water dams in Afghanistan, because it has caused droughts in that country (Iran). And it was Ashraf Ghani who prevented 80% of exports from Pakistan, and made Pakistan's economy to zero. He rescued Afghanistan from the need of Pakistan. Ashraf Ghani works for this country. Ashraf Ghani wants to establish a powerful government in Afghanistan. If Ashraf Ghanis reaches to power, he will make Af

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