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.