US Defeat Should be Seized as An Opportunity, According to Iran

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The United States’ military defeat in Afghanistan should be seized as an opportunity for Afghanistan’s rebirth and for security and lasting peace in that country, said new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. He stressed that Iran is always ready to be a good neighbour to Afghanistan and is closely following developments, reported the IRNA news agency.

 

He hopes that all population groups together reach a national agreement on the way forward. Iran is ready to help create stability. On Sunday, after 20 years of war, the capital of Afghanistan also fell into the hands of the Sunni extremists of the Taliban. It is mainly the result of the departure of the last American troops, which was initiated in May. Since then, the Taliban have overrun the country without much resistance.

Shia Iran has had bad experiences with the Taliban. They persecuted the large Afghan Shia Hazara minority in their country and plunged into a fray in 1998 at an Iranian consulate where they killed 11 Iranians. The Taliban are generally Pathans (Pashtun) and represent about 40 percent of the population. Thus, they have much in common with their ethnic relatives in Pakistan. The Hazara population is estimated to represent nearly a quarter of the population. The Tajik Afghans in the north account for 20 percent.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called an emergency meeting of his own Security Council on Monday. According to Khan, Pakistan continues to try to support a political solution for the whole of Afghanistan. His Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan “has no predilection for population groups and wants good relations with all neighbouring countries. “When the time comes, Pakistan will recognize the Taliban government based on the state of the country, the Pakistani national importance and international relations”.

In Pakistan, according to observers, many forces, including among the military and members of the secret service, do have a preference for a certain population group, the Pathans. They have often supported the Taliban. They thought the Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, who had fled on Sunday, was a puppet of America. The US presence also offered arch-rival India a chance to gain a foothold in Afghanistan.

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