Wednesday, Dec 03, 2008
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has questioned the motive behind the prolonged seven-year Washington presence in Afghanistan.
“By keeping its forces in Afghanistan, the US has inflicted a heavy financial burden on its economy,” the Iranian president said in a televised interview on Tuesday.
Washington and its allies seek a long-time strategy with regards to their policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, he continued.
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Seven years of occupation have not made Afghanistan any safer, as this year alone over 5,000 people have been killed and US military casualties have increased to the highest levels since the 2001 invasion.
Since the US invasion of the country, Afghanistan has also seen a phenomenal increase in the cultivation of opium, which is used to make heroin. The country now feeds the world with nearly 90 percent of its heroin.
“Their ulterior motive is to weaken India and China,” suggested the president, adding that extra-regional presence can only help create a launching ground for further problems.
President Ahmadinejad said the 60-hour assault on Mumbai which killed nearly 172 people and injured almost 300 others was also orchestrated by elements outside the region.
“The main motive behind the terrorist attacks, which were orchestrated from outside the region, was to strain relations between Indian and Pakistan,” he said.
India last week blamed Pakistani-based “elements” over the attacks across its financial capital, saying the terror bore the fingerprint of Lashkar-e-Taiba — a group blamed for previous attacks in India.
“Even if the militants are linked to Lashker-e-Taiba, who do you think we are fighting?” commented Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in reference to his government’s operations against al-Qaeda and Taliban-linked militants near the Afghan border.
This article was posted: Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at 11:57 am