Khatami pays historic visit to Afghanistan, slams U.S. policy
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami Tuesday morning arrived in Kabul for talks with the Afghan head of state on issues of mutual concern. Khatami was welcomed at Khaje Ravash airport by Head of the Afghan transitional government, Hamid Karzai, IRNA reported.
They then left the airport for the Afghan presidential palace. Khatami was scheduled to exchange views with Karzai on such issues as anti-narcotics campaign, cooperation in replacing the cultivation of opium poppies with food crops, terrorism, and Iran's participation in rebuilding Afghanistan.
While in Afghanistan, Khatami accused the United States of pursuing an "angry approach" to foreign policy since the attacks of Sept. 11. Speaking at a press conference with Karzai, the Iranian leader promised to help rebuild this country and said the only justification for any foreign presence in Afghanistan was to bring peace after nearly a generation of war.
"The American administration has a misunderstanding about their own power and their own interests," Khatami said. "Since Sept. 11, this administration has taken an angry approach to foreign policy."
"No doubt attacking one state in the world affects other states," Khatami said. "Today, we know that aggression brings aggression and to believe that you can make people submit by force is wrong. We know it actually brings anger and destruction."
"Those with power have more responsibility to bring peace in the world," Khatami added. "No country should use the fight against terrorism to force their views on other countries."
President Khatami is the first Iranian head of state to visit Kabul in four decades.
"Iranian nation has always been beside the oppressed Afghan nation in their long fight to attain independence and will never leave them alone," Khatami told reporters at Mehrabad International Airport here before departing for Afghanistan.
"Iran has played an outstanding and decisive role to establish peace and stability in Afghanistan and after the establishment of Loya Jirga or assembly of elders and the transitional government relations between Tehran and Kabul have been specially good," he added. "Afghanistan, after putting behind several decades of suffering and hardship, needs tranquility," Khatami said, adding that, "The country is blessed with abundant talent and its nation deserves greater development and progress."
Iran has made the biggest assistance to Afghanistan during the past year, Khatami said, adding his trip is intended to express solidarity with the Afghan nation and strengthen the government in power in that country as well as paving the grounds for its reconstruction. (Albawaba.com)
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