Iran: US Brought More Problems to ME

A05233317.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Tehran says the ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan has been counterproductive, adding that the US has only managed to increase tensions.

“The occupation of Afghanistan to end terror has resulted in nothing but less security, health problems, extremism, radicalism and an increase in drug cultivation,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi in a press conference on Monday.

On October 7 2001, the United States and the United Kingdom launched an operation in Afghanistan in response to the September 11 attacks in New York. The invasion marked the start of the so-called War on Terror, the declared purpose of which was to capture Osama bin Laden, destroy al-Qaeda and eradicate the Taliban regime.

After seven years, US-led coalition forces tacitly admit they are far from victory in Afghanistan. According to recent reports, the US-led coalition began secret talks with the Taliban after they reached an impasse in their effort to tackle insurgency in the war-ravaged country, press tv reported.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said the US would support peace talks with the Taliban, and the spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Brigadier General Richard Blanchette, has said there can be no military solution.

On the issue of Iraq and US efforts to sign a controversial security pact with the country, the Iranian official said Tehran wants Iraq to become an independent country and an end to the occupation.

“We seek to defend Iraq’s national sovereignty, territorial integrity and its quest to achieve independence,” he said regarding Iran’s stance on the issue.

Iraqis have taken to the streets many times to protest the controversial US-proposed security pact.

Washington currently seeks to sign a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Baghdad to give legal basis to its military and political presence in oil-rich Iraq after a UN mandate defining its status expires on December 31.

The deal has been severely criticized by prominent Iraqi political and religious figures, who say it would undermine the country’s national sovereignty.

Meanwhile, disagreements between the Iraqi and American negotiating teams particularly over the immunity of the US troops in Iraq have hampered Washington’s efforts to persuade Baghdad to sign the deal.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and parliament have declared that any deal would need to take Iraqi interests into consideration, warning that US pressure would only create political discord inside the Middle Eastern country and threaten the democratically-elected government.

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