US surge not helping Afghanistan: Iran FM

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - 20:51

Kabul: Iran`s foreign minister said on Tuesday
that a US-led surge of troops into Afghanistan had failed to
stabilise the country, addressing a key international
conference attended by his American counterpart.

Representatives from 70 organisations and countries
gathered in Kabul to hear President Hamid Karzai say that his
government was prepared to take over security responsibility
from tens of thousands of US-led NATO troops by 2014.

Iran`s Manouchehr Mottaki told the gathering that NATO
and US troops had failed to defeat the Taliban, nine years
after bringing down their Islamist regime, and instead had exacerbated violence in Afghanistan.

"With increased foreign troops the security situation is
getting worse and a positive change is not foreseeable in the
near future," he told the meeting.

"Recent surveys show that insecurity compared to last
year has increased tangibly.

"That is why it is clear that increased deployment of
foreign forces and foreign military operations has not only
not helped the problem but has added to the level of
violence," he added.

He said that Western troops, expected to peak at 150,000
within weeks, was a cause of "insecurity, violence and
dissatisfaction for the Afghan public."

Mottaki also blamed a surge in drugs production in
Afghanistan, which is Iran`s eastern neighbour, on "Western
money laundering systems".


First Published: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - 20:51

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