Afghan FM Praises Iran’s Aids

A03444028.jpgAfghanistan’s Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta appreciated Iran’s aids and assistance to his country’s reconstruction. Spanta made the remarks during a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki and Tajikistan’s deputy foreign minister Abdullah Ghorban Mohamaadovic Yuldashov in the western Afghan city of Herat on Saturday.

Spanta further dismissed Washington’s allegations about the smuggle of Iranian arms to his country.

“Our government has no evidence to show Iran is giving weapons to the Taliban and we have never stated this,” Spanta stressed.

Spanta’s comments came after the top US commander in Afghanistan, General Dan McNeill, said Thursday a convoy of explosives intercepted last month had arrived from Iran and probably with the knowledge of the Iranian military.

Iran and Afghanistan have both rejected the allegations.

Also during the same press conference, Iranian foreign minister called for the promotion of scientific cooperation among universities and science ministries of the three countries.

Mottaki said that Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan have decided to exchange experience in fighting illicit drugs, swap energy and cooperate in the transportation sector, adding that the three sides are due to attend a second meeting on the same subjects in Kabul three months later.

Asked about McNeill’s statement, Mottaki said, “These are claims that they make. For us the motives behind these claims are clear.”

He did not elaborate but suggested there were contacts, which he did not make clear, between “terrorist groups in Afghanistan” and “political circles and European capitals.”

Iran was fully behind the reconstruction of post-Taliban Afghanistan, both ministers underscored.

Elsewhere, the Afghan and Iranian ministers also met with their Pakistani counterpart Khurshid Kasuri in Herat ahead of a conference Saturday of foreign ministers from 10 regional countries in the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).

ECO incorporates Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

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