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Intra-Afghan Dialogue Key to Resolving Kabul’s Problems

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It is important that the people of Afghanistan experience true peace after years of war and conflict, and the solution to this problem is intra-Afghan negotiation, President Hassan Rouhani said. 
He made the statement in a meeting with the head of Afghanistan’s National Reconciliation Council Abdullah Abdullah, who is visiting Tehran at the head of a political delegation, President.ir reported. 
“The United States’ intervention and presence in Afghanistan as an aggressor is not in accordance with this nation’s desire and opinion,” he said.
Rouhani noted that the US administration, whose policies have failed at both regional and international levels, is using the Afghan peace talks for its electoral purposes. 
The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and overthrew the Taliban, but the group continued its armed insurgency. 
It eventually signed a peace agreement with the insurgents in February in Doha, Qatar, based on which Washington agreed to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and Taliban pledged to enter talks with the Afghan government.
The US-brokered peace talks began in Doha in early September, but reached an impasse due to disagreements over a framework for negotiations, while violence continued in Afghanistan.
The president said Iran will continue to stand by the people of Afghanistan as in the past and will support this country and all its peaceful political and ethnic groups. 
“Sustainable peace, stability and security in Afghanistan as a neighboring and brotherly country are of special importance to the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said.   
Rouhani hoped security can be restored in the war-torn country so that its people can finally live in peace. 
Abdullah said he has held fruitful talks with Iranian officials during his visit and hoped that Iran’s support for the peace talks would lead to stability and security in his country. 
“I will deliver Iran’s message of support to Kabul and pursue the two countries’ agreements,” he said. 
He also appreciated Iran’s hosting of Afghan immigrants who fled their country over years of war.
Rouhani also highlighted the importance of expanding cooperation between the two neighbors in all sectors through long-term plans.    
Pointing to the launch of the Khaf-Herat railroad in the coming days, he said the rail connection would help boost bilateral trade ties. 
“Iran is ready to connect oil and gas pipelines to Afghanistan to supply energy to its people,” he said. 
Abdullah arrived in Tehran on Sunday for a three-day visit to hold extensive talks with Iranian authorities about the peace talks, ways of improving bilateral relations and the latest regional developments. 
He had earlier met Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian on Sunday and was set to meet Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani later in the day.

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