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Tehran, Kabul Underscore Cooperation to Combat Terrorism

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) and his Afghan counterpart, Salahuddin Rabbani, attend a presser in Kabul on May 7.Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) and his Afghan counterpart, Salahuddin Rabbani, attend a presser in Kabul on May 7.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hailed the longstanding diplomatic ties with Kabul and hoped for promotion of politico-economic interactions to benefit both states.

Heading a high-ranking political delegation, Zarif visited Kabul on Sunday at the official invitation of his Afghan counterpart, Salahuddin Rabbani, ISNA reported.

"Iran and Afghanistan can cooperate in different fields and we should join hands to fight human trafficking, terrorism as well as narcotics to the benefit of the two nations," Zarif said while addressing a joint press conference with Rabbani.

Pointing to age-old cultural, historical and religious bonds between the two nations, the Iranian minister called for increasing economic and commercial cooperation, assuring the Afghan people that Iran will, as always, continue its support for its neighbor's efforts to strengthen the economy and preserve security.

Zarif stressed the need for close collaboration among regional countries to combat the menace of extremism and terrorism.

"Iran and Afghanistan are situated in a dangerous region that suffers from extremist groups due to the interference of outsiders, and efforts are being made to spread terror. The present brutalities will ultimately harm those who have provoked them," he said.

Rabbani said, "Kabul attaches considerable importance to its relations with Tehran, and given the long history of good political and cultural ties between the two countries, we hope to develop extensive mutual relations to bring peace and joy back to the Afghan people."

He also expressed his deep condolences to the Iranian government and nation for the recent terror attack on Iranian guards along the Pakistan-Iran border.

"We believe the root of terrorism is out of Iran and Afghanistan's boundaries. All countries across the world are obligated to help counter terrorism," Rabbani said.

Terrorists based in Pakistan opened fire on an Iranian border patrol in southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan late last month, killing 10 Iranian guards and wounding three others.

The Afghan official thanked Iran for hosting millions of Afghan migrants and refugees who fled war and financial hardship.  

Over 400,000 Afghan students study in Iranian schools and some 17,000 are pursuing their education in Iranian universities. About three million Afghan citizens are residing, legally and illegally, in the Islamic Republic.

Zarif said Tehran has provided proper conditions for Afghan refugees and called for making arrangements to clarify their legal status.

During his one-day stay, the Iranian minister also met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah and Afghan president's national security adviser, Mohammad Hanif Atmar, to discuss Tehran-Kabul relations and the latest regional and international developments.

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