TEHRAN – Iran on Monday called on Afghan groups to use U.S. withdrawal as an opportunity to restore peace to their homeland, saying Afghanistan’s history shows that there is no military solution to its crises.
“Inviting all sides to maintain stability, we hope that the groups will make the most of the opportunity of the withdrawal of trans-regional forces to establish an inclusive government, while maintaining good relations with Afghanistan’s neighbors,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.
“Afghanistan’s history shows that there is no military solution to the problem,” he said, voicing Iran’s readiness to cooperate on facilitating dialogue in the war-torn country.
Iran has been by the side of Afghanistan for the past 40 years, Khatibzadeh said as he emphasized the need to protect the lives of Afghan people as well as the rights of women there.
He also expressed hope that the recently-formed Coordination Council in Afghanistan will be able to help establish peace in the country.
The current situation, he said, has unleashed a new wave of refugees, which calls for continued humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people.
The Afghan government headed by Ashraf Ghani rapidly collapsed on August 15 amid the withdrawal of U.S. forces, 20 years after they invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban.
The withdrawal began in early May and was expected to be concluded by the end of August, but the U.S. says it is considering extending the deadline.
The Biden administration says it has an agreement with the Taliban, who are now back in power, under which the militant group should allow Americans and others to fly out of Afghanistan.
Reports have emerged in U.S. media in recent days of Americans being harassed at checkpoints.
President Joe Biden said on Sunday that 11,000 people had been airlifted in the previous 30 hours and vowed that any American seeking to flee Afghanistan and return home will be able to do so.
“The U.S. came to Afghanistan as an aggressor. Its entry into Afghanistan was tragic and its departure was disgraceful. This is a historic lesson for all, showing that the U.S., rather than bringing peace and security, has wreaked havoc wherever it has gone,” Khatibzadeh said.
Iran, he said, is seeking to establish peace and security in the region, regardless of the ghastly legacy left by the U.S.
“Videos coming out of Afghanistan make everyone’s heart bleed. It is a historical shame for those who claim to champion human rights. Right now, they have only kept their mouths shut except for justifying their aggression.”