Afghan Territory must not be Used for Sheltering or Training Terrorists: Iran

Iran's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi said on Thursday that the next round of the meeting of the foreign ministers of countries bordering Afghanistan will be held in Tehran in the near future.

Ravanchi said this in line with Iran’s utmost efforts to help all Afghan groups to solve their disagreements through dialogue.

On Wednesday, Iran hosted a virtual summit of the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and China on Afghanistan.

“The first ministerial meeting of neighbors of Afghanistan, held virtually yesterday (Wednesday), was meant to serve that purpose. Its next round will be held in Tehran in the near future," Ravanchi told a meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday evening.

Takht Ravanchi also pointed to the sufferings of the Afghan people, saying, "Afghanistan is passing through a critical juncture; hundreds of thousands of Afghans have fled their country; nearly 600,000 others have become internally displaced; essential food supplies are running short, and 18.4 million people need humanitarian assistance."

He added, "This situation is primarily the direct result of the intervention by the U.S. and other foreign forces in Afghanistan and their irresponsible withdrawal. When they entered Afghanistan, they brought catastrophe for Afghans, and when they withdrew, they left calamity for Afghans."

The U.S. invaded Afghanistan following the attacks on the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The U.S. blamed al-Qaeda headed by Osama bin Laden for the attacks and invaded Afghanistan that was ruled at the time by the Taliban.

The Taliban had given sanctuary to bin Laden.

Finally, after 20 years the U.S. left Afghanistan in disgrace and in a chaotic manner.  

"Through 2001-2021, nearly 165,000 Afghans have been killed, and the direct child casualties of the conflict is estimated around 33,000. These figures alone indicate the gravity and scale of death and devastation. War crimes committed by foreign forces in Afghanistan must not go unpunished."

The ambassador went on to say that Iran is ready to facilitate humanitarian aid to the Central Asian country.

"Iran stands ready to facilitate the transfer of humanitarian aids to Afghanistan through Iran’s sea ports, airports, railways, roads and border crossings."

Ravanchi also asked the international community honor to help the Afghan refugees.

"For well over four decades, we have hosted millions of Afghan refugees. After the recent crisis, many more refugees have entered the Iranian territory. We expect the international community to shoulder its responsibility and do a lot more in providing assistance to these refugees."

Iran’s ambassador the UN added, "Afghanistan’s people must also be helped to achieve lasting peace, stability and prosperity. The full realization of this objective must be facilitated and strongly supported by the international community particularly the neighboring countries. The first ministerial meeting of neighbors of Afghanistan, held virtually yesterday (Wednesday), was meant to serve that purpose. Its next round will be held in Tehran in the near future."

The diplomat said Iran has been seeking to deescalate tensions between the conflicting sides in Afghanistan.

"Iran has always made every effort to help all Afghan parties to settle their differences peacefully. Last July, we organized high-level peace talks between the delegations of the Afghan government and the Taliban. They agreed to continue their talks at a later meeting. Iran is ready to host the next round of such talks."

Ambassador Ravanchi went on to say that Iran urges all Afghan leaders from different religious, linguistic, ethnic, and political backgrounds to place the interests of Afghan people above all things.

Ambassador Ravanchi added that the "recent unjustifiable attack and condemnable fratricide in Panjshir" was in contradiction with the united position of the international community that any government that came to power through force in Afghanistan would not be recognized.

The top Iranian diplomat to the UN went on to say that the path to stability and peace in Afghanistan passes through “intra-Afghan talks”.

"Indeed, the path to stability, durable peace and sustainable development in Afghanistan passes through intra-Afghan talks with the active and equal participation of the true representatives of all ethnic, linguistic and religious groups aimed at finding a just, peaceful and durable solution to the crisis, achieving national reconciliation and establishing a truly inclusive, broad-based and fully representative government that is emerged from a free and fair elections including with the full participation of women both as voters and candidates and is committed to combat terrorism and organized crime as well as to guarantee and protect, based on true Islamic teachings and principles, the human rights of all

Afghan people including ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities and women. We expect the Taliban to honor its commitments in this regard. Such a government will enjoy Iran’s support," he stated.

Ambassador Ravanchi also said Iran is concerned about threats of terrorist networks in Afghanistan, saying, "Like Afghanistan’s other neighbors we are gravely concerned about insecurity and instability as well as threats of terrorist networks and organized criminals active in trafficking in drugs and persons."

The ambassador insisted that Afghanistan must not give sanctuary to terrorists or turn into a center for training terrorists.

"We also strongly believe that Afghanistan’s territory must not be used, under any circumstances, to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or to finance terrorist acts. Terrorist groups like Daesh that represent a grave threat to Afghanistan and the region must not be allowed to operate in that country."

Ravanchi also cited the services that Iran has provided for commercial ties between Afghanistan as a landlocked country and other countries through Chabahar Port and to Europe through the Khaf-Herat railway.

"Afghanistan needs to be supported to overcome its current economic difficulties. We have established the link from Afghanistan as a land-locked country to high seas through Iran’s Chabahar Port and to Europe through the Khaf-Herat railway."