Foreign Forces’ Exit Sets Stage for Enhanced Afghan Bonds

Foreign Forces’ Exit Sets Stage for Enhanced Afghan Bonds
Foreign Forces’ Exit Sets Stage for Enhanced Afghan Bonds

The secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) said the exit of coalition forces from Afghanistan has prepared the ground for increased bilateral cooperation between Iran and Afghanistan.

In a second round of talks with Afghan national security advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar in Tehran on Tuesday, Ali Shamkhani said, "With NATO forces pulling out of Afghanistan, new opportunities have arisen for greater bilateral cooperation," IRNA reported.

Stressing the necessity to activate expert committees to help implement the agreements between the security councils of the two countries, Shamkhani said, "Given the shifting nature of regional and international threats, it is inevitably essential that the countries in the region reach a consensus to adopt new appropriate strategies."

The SNSC chief said, "Due to lack of attention and late adoption of serious measures to deal with terrorism, a new generation of unpredictable threats has emerged."

Atmar, for his part, praised the Iranian nation and government for hosting millions of Afghan refugees and called for mutual cooperation to help establish lasting security along the joint border and fight against terrorism and drug trafficking. He emphasized, "The soil and airspace of Afghanistan will by no means be used against neighboring countries such as Iran," adding, "If such an unpleasant event occurs, it will definitely have a negative impact on the cooperation between Afghanistan and the invading countries."

  FM Meets Afghan Security Official

In a separate meeting on the same day, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif conferred with the Afghan security official. Referring to the current administration's policy to promote relations with the neighboring states and stressing the necessity for engagement with the new Afghan administration, Zarif expressed the foreign ministry's readiness to increase cooperation with Afghanistan to help improve stability and security in the country.

He touched on the latest presidential race in Afghanistan and said, "The general election led to the formation of a national unity government and we welcome and support whatever is decided by the nation's will."

He described the visits of Afghan officials to Iran as a significant step to help put cooperation agreements into effect, adding that Iran is prepared to enhance regional cooperation in various fields with Afghanistan.

Atmar said, "Deepening bilateral and multilateral ties with Iran is of high priority in the policies of the Afghan national unity government and we will never allow anyone to pose a threat to Iran from our country."

Referring to the key position of Iran in the region, the Afghan official described expansion of economic ties as important and stressed the need to promote cooperation in the campaign against terrorism and illicit drugs.