Tehran: Iran said on Tuesday it will soon host a
regional meeting on stabilising Afghanistan to be attended by
the neighbours of the war-ravaged country.
The conference would be part of "concrete actions that we
(Iran) are adopting to fight drug-trafficking, extremism and
to seek solutions" for stability, foreign ministry spokesman
Ramin Mehmanparast said.
The official, who was speaking to reporters, did not
indicate when the conference would be held.
"If other countries want to help, they should support
these regional efforts to resolve crises and avoid creating
obstacles," he added in reference to the international
community, including the United States.
Mehmanparast also said that Iran`s archfoe the United
States was aware how "important" Tehran was for the stability
of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Last week Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hosted a
mini-summit with his Afghan and Tajik counterparts in which he
denounced the deployment of foreign troops in Afghanistan and
insisted regional countries resolve issues there.
Kabul has good relations with Tehran despite being
heavily reliant militarily and financially on the United
States, which has been at loggerheads with the Islamic
republic for more than three decades.
But despite their rivalry, Washington and Tehran are both
sworn enemies of the extremist Sunni Muslim Taliban militia
which ruled in Kabul from 1996 to 2001, before being
overthrown in the US-led invasion.
The United States has made a number of efforts to involve
all of Afghanistan`s neighbours, including Iran, in restoring
stability to Afghanistan.
But they have been complicated by the lack of diplomatic
relations between Tehran and Washington.
Shiite Iran, which has close ethnic and religious ties
with Afghanistan, has long suffered from the effects of opium
production in its eastern neighbour, with easily available
heroin fuelling a big rise in drug use at home.
Afghanistan is the source of 90 per cent of the