A senior Iranian official says military solutions have proved futile in resolving the Afghanistan conflict, and that only a withdrawal of foreign forces could promote efforts to restore calm to the war-torn Asian state.
The prolongation of war in Afghanistan is the outcome of foreign military presence in that country, Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi told an Afghan peace conference in the Uzbek capital city of Tashkent on Tuesday.
Araqchi said a military approach has never worked in handling Afghan issues and is doomed to fail in the future too, noting that a pullout of foreign forces could be a prelude to peace in the violence-wracked state.
The Tashkent conference also adopted a declaration, which calls for “a political settlement that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, supported by close regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics cooperation, as well as regional economic cooperation and connectivity.”
It further called on “all countries to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan and non-interference in its internal affairs in order to help it achieve security, stability and prosperity.”
In February, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani offered to allow the Taliban to establish itself as a political party and said he would work to remove sanctions on the militant group, among other incentives, if it joined the government in peace negotiations “without preconditions.”
In return, the militants would have to recognize the Kabul government and respect the rule of law.
The Taliban have so far ruled out direct negotiations with Kabul.
Elsewhere in his comments, Araqchi hailed Ghani’s initiative as a positive step and invited Afghan warring sides to engage in dialog with the aim of finding a political solution to the problems gripping the country.
He also expressed Iran’s readiness to help the Afghan government in its efforts to establish peace.
The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan under the guise of the war on terror. Some 17 years on, the Taliban group has only boosted its campaign of violence across the country, targeting both civilians and security forces in bloody assaults.
More recently, the Daesh terrorist group has also taken advantage of the chaos and established a foothold in eastern and northern Afghanistan.
The Takfiri outfit has stepped up its terror attacks in the war-torn state after losing its bases in Iraq and Syria despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops on Afghan soil.