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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Is Afghanistan Bringing US, Iran Together?

US, Iran could work together in Afghanistan: official

Mar 27, 2009
MOSCOW (AFP) — Afghanistan is a "very productive area" for engagement between the United States and its arch foe Iran, a US official declared Friday, at a meeting in Moscow aimed at curbing rising violence in the conflict-torn country.

The meeting, led by the Shanghai Group which groups China, Russia and Central Asian states, came amid mounting international concerns over the resurgence of the Taliban Islamist militants in the country.

"We see Iran as an important player related to Afghanistan. We see this as a very productive area for engagement in the future," the US official, who asked not to be named, said on the sidelines of the conference.

The United States and Iran have had no diplomatic ties for almost three decades but President Barack Obama in a message on March 20 offered to end the animosity, in a departure from the previous administration's tough line.

Obama was Friday to unveil a new offensive against terror havens in Afghanistan, by dispatching 4,000 extra troops to train the Afghan army and sending in hundreds more civilians.

The Moscow meeting is also being attended by Shanghai Group observers, NATO officials, delegates from Afghanistan and Iran as well as representatives of the G8 group of leading industrialised countries.

The United States has sent Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Patrick Moon to the conference but there appeared little chance he could meet Iranian delegates.

"Such a meeting is not on the agenda," Iran's ambassador to Russia Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

The meeting comes ahead of another international conference on Afghanistan in The Hague on March 31, due to be attended by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top diplomats.

Iran said on Thursday it would also attend the Hague conference, in a signal it is ready to help the new US administration restore stability to its eastern neighbour.

© 2009 AFP


My Thoughts

Whatever role Iran would play should be extremely limited as in almost non-existant. The arsonist in charge of the fire department comes to mind when reading this story.

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