Ahmadinejad says that US created terrorists in Afghanistan Photo: BBC
Visiting Kabul today, Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadinejad said the US had "created terrorists and now say they are fighting them", as he appeared with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Ahmadinejad's comments come on the heels of those made by US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who accused Iran of giving the Taliban low-level support.
At the joint press conference with Karzai, Ahmadinejad said that Iran rejects the need for a foreign military presence in Afghanistan in order to achieve peace in the nation.
Rather, he said "Our policy is full support for the Afghan people and Afghan government and reconstruction of Afghanistan."
Secretary Gates is also in Kabul to review the progress of the troop surge in Afghanistan. He asserted earlier that Tehran was offering the Afghan government friendship, while also providing low-level support for the Taliban, in what Gates termed a "double-game."
Ahmadinejad rejected these statements saying that the Taliban fighters are Sunni Muslims, and sworn enemies of Shia Iran. He pointed blame to the US saying, "They themselves created terrorists and now they're saying that they are fighting terrorists."
The Iranian president furthered his criticisms of the US in asking why a nation on the other side of the world was meddling in the affairs of Afghanistan. Finally, Ahmadinejad asserted that terrorism could not be defeated by armies, but only by intelligence.
Afghan President Karzai, who made very little remarks during the press conference, stated "We are very hopeful that our brother nation of Iran will work with us in bringing peace and security to Afghanistan so that both our countries will be secure."
Karzai also described Iran as a realistic friend and thanked Ahmadinejad for Tehran's support.
While there are few who would not argue that Afghanistan needs to have good working relations with its neighbors in the region, Iran is definitely a neighbor who needs close watching. Tehran has indeed engaged in double play before, such as in the case with Lebanon, where Iran asserts it is a friend to the government, yet supports the Hezbollah terrorist organization.
Afghanistan has the opportunity to become a secular Islamic state, the upholds democracy and the rights of its people. With the cloud already surrounding Karzai's second term due to the election fraud, it may be wise to closely monitor the relationship between Tehran and Kabul and view anything more than neighborly cooperation negatively.