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Iran’s Zarif: US, NATO Must ‘Compensate’ Afghanistan After Invading for Selfish Reasons

© AP Photo / Rahmat GulАфганский солдат с гитарой на базе Баграм в Афганистане
Афганский солдат с гитарой на базе Баграм в Афганистане  - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.08.2021
The Western-backed government in Kabul collapsed over the weekend, just over four months after Washington announced that it would be withdrawing, and while American forces were still present in the country. The speed of the Taliban takeover of the country has surprised many world leaders including US President Joe Biden.
The United States and its NATO allies have an “obligation” to compensate Afghanistan in the wake of the disastrous 19+ year war against the country, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has suggested.
“For all their talk of democracy and [about the] War on Terror, events in Afghanistan and statements by US and NATO officials prove: They invaded and occupied Afghanistan and elsewhere ONLY to pursue their own interests – but couldn’t even achieve that. US/NATO now have [a] clear obligation to compensate,” Zarif tweeted on Wednesday, accompanying his post with two of the many iconic images coming out of Kabul in recent days.
The foreign minister did not elaborate on how such “compensation” could be paid out, or who should receive it. At the moment, the vast majority of Afghanistan is under the control of the Taliban, a Sunni militia movement with whom Iran’s Shia Islamic Republican authorities have had notoriously poor relations over past decades. In 1998, Iran even threatened to invade Afghanistan to topple the Taliban after the group attacked and killed 11 Iranian diplomats at the consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif.
A Look at Afghanistan's Military Bases After the Hasty US Pullout - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.08.2021
A Look at Afghanistan's Military Bases After the Hasty US Pullout
Iranian officials have softened their stance on the Taliban in recent months amid the US announcement that it would be withdrawing from the country, and Tehran hosted Taliban and (now former) Afghan government negotiators earlier this summer to try to secure some kind of reconciliation between the two sides.
On Monday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said that “America’s defeat and its withdrawal must become an opportunity to restore life, security and durable peace in Afghanistan,” and emphasised that Iran “invites all groups in Afghanistan to reach a national agreement” and “backs efforts to restore stability” to the war-torn country.
Iran and Afghanistan share a 936 km-long border. During the recent Taliban offensives, Iran’s border forces and the military beefed up their presence on and monitoring of the frontiers with Afghanistan to prevent any spillover of violence.
Zarif is on his way out as Iran's foreign minister after serving under the government of Hassan Rouhani for over eight years. He was one of the architects of the Iran nuclear deal, and a strong proponent of regional solutions to the Middle East's security problems. Raisi named Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, an Iranian career diplomat, as his successor last week, pending parliamentary approval.
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