Afghan-US Security Pact Not Against Iran

Afghan-US Security Pact Not Against IranAfghan-US Security Pact Not Against Iran

President Hassan Rouhani and Afghanistan's newly elected President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai held talks on Sunday, calling for continuation of friendly and good neighborly relations between the two nations.      

During a phone conversation with the president, Ashraf Ghani extended felicitations to the Iranian nation on the grand festival of Eid-al-Adha. He referred to the security pact signed between Kabul and Washington and said, "You must be assured that any agreement between Afghanistan and other countries will definitely not be against Iran and detrimental to the Iranian nation," IRNA reported.

He also said, "Terrorism and extremism are of greatest concern (for us), which necessitate collective action by all countries against the phenomena."

The Afghan president touched on the national unity government in Afghanistan and said, "We will adhere to the national unity government until we manage to restore stability in Afghanistan."

  Integrated Afghanistan  

Rouhani, for his part, expressed content over the formation of the national unity government in Afghanistan and called on rival political groups to "feel committed to the integrity of the country" and act to secure national interests.  He illustrated Iran's stance toward the Afghan-US security agreement and emphasized that national interests should be taken into consideration as the first priority in signing any pact or agreement.

He described security as the primary necessity for the national unity government in Afghanistan. He also said, "Regional cooperation is the only right approach to battle against… terrorism and extremism."

Referring to the longstanding relationship between the two nations, the president expressed hope that relations with other countries would not hurt good and friendly relations between Iran and Afghanistan.

The chief executive also wished success, stability, and security for the people and government of Afghanistan.

The president had earlier hailed the formation of the national unity government in Afghanistan as the basis to further strengthen security and stability in the country. Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as Afghanistan's president on September 29 under a power-sharing deal signed with his rival Abdullah Abdullah.

Afghanistan's rival presidential candidates signed the deal on September 21 to share power after months of turmoil over a disputed election that destabilized the nation, according to Reuters.  

Under the deal, Ashraf Ghani became president while runner-up Abdullah Abdullah was nominated as chief executive.

Officials from Afghanistan and the United States on September 30 signed a long-delayed security agreement to allow American troops to stay in the country after the end of the year, filling a campaign promise by new President Ashraf Ghani.

Ghani's predecessor, Hamid Karzai, had long refused to agree to the deal, souring his ties with the United States. Karzai had cited his anger over civilian deaths and his belief that the war was not fought in the interests of his country. Mohammad Afsar Rahbin, the cultural attaché of the Afghan embassy to Tehran, told ISNA last week that Afghanistan would not sign any pact that violates its neighbors' rights.

He said the security agreement with the United States would not allow the US to use Afghanistan as a staging area to launch attacks on its neighbors.