NEW DELHI (Dispatches) --
India hosted senior security officials from Russia, Iran and five Central Asian countries to discuss the situation in Afghanistan on Wednesday.
India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval had invited security chiefs from Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan for the talks.
“This is a time for close consultation among us,” Doval said in opening remarks before the meeting. He said he hoped the deliberations will help the people of Afghanistan and enhance the region’s collective security.
The top security officials were expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday. The first two editions of the meeting were hosted by Iran in 2018 and 2019.
Iran’s security chief Ali Shamkhani told the meeting the United States and its coalition allies must be held accountable for the myriad of crises Afghanistan is facing today, adding the “least responsibility” they bear is to compensate for all the damage they have inflicted on the Afghan people over the past two decades.
“Twenty years ago, the United States occupied Afghanistan under the pretext of confronting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, claiming to be fighting terrorism and preaching that ‘I want to turn Afghanistan into a role model and a source of inspiration,” he said.
However, instead of acting on such a claim, it made the situation in Afghanistan even worse, he said.
“Terrorism, poverty and misery, as well as drug cultivation and trafficking and migration, increased while a large number of innocent people in Afghanistan were massacred by American fighter jets at weddings and mourning ceremonies for vague reasons. The state- and nation-building claimed by the United States ground to a halt.”
Shamkhani said the U.S. turned out to be a failure even in its “most basic role, i.e. the establishment of the army and security system,” which quickly collapsed after Washington and its allies left Afghanistan and the Taliban group took over.
Having faced a “humiliating defeat,” the United States was forced to escape from Afghanistan, after inflicting huge damage on the country, most significantly the carnage of thousands of innocent men, women, and children, Shamkhani added.
He said the U.S. eventually “became a lesson to all those who seek their survival in resorting to fake powers like the United States instead of relying on their own resources.”
The Iranian official said the Americans “acted deceitfully” even in the issue of peace in Afghanistan and had no plans to promote peace in the country contrary to its claims. Washington, he added, was only after finding a way
out of the crisis of its own making and chose to cause trouble for the region and the entire world due to its “hegemonic nature and superiority complex.”
“That is why the Islamic Republic of Iran did not take part in any so-called peace or dialogue format or process that the United States would create” during the occupation period, Shamkhani said.
On the contrary, he said, Iran “tried, through cooperation with internal and external players in Afghanistan, to move toward plans which would truly serve the interests of our oppressed brothers and sisters in Afghanistan and those of the neighbors and the entire region, as well as [plans] that would establish broad-based, lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan that would meet the common interests of us all.”
Shamkahni also pointed to threats posed by the growth of Daesh and other takfiri terrorist groups in Afghanistan to the country’s neighbors and those states in the region that have no common borders with it.
He enumerated the “important duties” that Afghanistan’s neighbors need to fulfill in the process to help settle the crises unfolding in the South Asian state.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran declares its readiness to offer all the facilities at its disposal, such as roads and ports, to help resolve this crisis,” the top security official said.
Shamkhani said regional countries should also “exert pressure on the United States to unblock the financial resources of the oppressed Afghan nation so it can benefit from its own resources and facilities.”
Furthermore, he added, the participants in the summit should work to confront Daesh and other takfiri terrorists operating in Afghanistan, identify the channels through which they are financed, and cut those lines.
The neighbors should likewise address the migration crisis and help the countries hosting Afghan refugees, according to him.
Shamkhani elaborated on the case of Iran and said the country had been hosting over three million Afghan migrants and paying around 96 percent of the costs on its own, while international institutions had only provided for four percent only.
He warned that Iran “we will not be able to host a new influx due to the unjust sanctions imposed against our people. In case other countries and relevant international institutions fail to offer assistance with this issue, we won’t be able to manage and the Western states, like it or not, will be affected.”