TEHRAN — Iran will host a peace conference on Afghanistan on Monday, July 19, with the participation of various Afghan and international groups and parties influential in the Afghan peace process.The conference, titled “Afghanistan, Sustainable Peace, and Security” is initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and hosted by the World Assembly of Islamic Awakening.
The conference will begin with a speech by Ali Akbar Velayati, secretary-general of the assembly.
Hossein Akbari, the deputy secretary-general of the assembly, told a press conference on Sunday that more than 40 Afghan figures and representatives from Afghanistan’s neighbors and regional states, including Pakistan, China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran, will address the conference.
The focal point of the meeting is to focus on negotiations in the “process of developments in Afghanistan.”
Personalities from different ethnic groups in Afghanistan will present speeches at the meeting, according to Akbari.
The conference, slated to start from 9:30 to 13 and then from 14 to 17, will be broadcast live by Iranian radio and television, he stated.
Akbari continued by saying that there is a hope that the meeting would help the peace process in Afghanistan.
The meeting falls within Iran’s strategy which has “has always been trying to persuade the parties to negotiate instead of going to war.”
Iran also hosted intra-Afghan talks on July 8 and 9.
The deputy secretary-general of the assembly noted that Afghanistan has now entered a new phase.
The war between the Afghan government and the Taliban has intensified as the U.S. and its NATO allies have left the Central Asian country after 20 years.
“The 20-year presence of the United States in Afghanistan and the eventual expulsion from that country has created a power vacuum and power imbalance in Afghanistan that affects all developments and equations. In other words, even though the Americans came to fight terrorism, to bring peace and security, and to provide welfare for the people of Afghanistan as an achievement, yet, despite these claims, we see today that drug production in Afghanistan has reached an unprecedented record, sometimes up to 50 times mass-produced. According to official statistics, the Americans have spent $ 3.6 trillion over the past 20 years and were eventually forced to leave the scene and flee Afghanistan,” he elaborated.
Americans carry insecurity and poverty with themselves
He also said that the Americans, despite their claims and based on their natural behavior in different countries, seek their interests and do not pay much attention to nations and geography.
“The U.S. goal and strategy of presence in Afghanistan was to get closer to Iran, China, and India to pursue its interests,” Akbari said.
He noted that Afghanistan has an extraordinary capacity in terms of resources and reserves, and one of the main strategies of the United States after the collapse of the Soviet Union was to be present in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Akbari added, “There is a serious question that if the Americans came to fight terrorism, where are they after 20 years?” Another point is that the presence of the Americans was to be able to create a strong mechanism in the government of Afghanistan that in the future will provide the minimum security, independence, and prosperity, but with the vacuum created, we see that the 20-year-old army that was equipped and trained by the Americans cannot defend itself in the slightest.”
“Wherever the United States goes, it has two messages: one is to create insecurity and the other is to incite poverty,” he said.
In another part of his speech, Akbari said that during these 20 years, many Afghans sought a place to fight the Americans, and they formed a front due to the lack of attention of the Americans to the local beliefs, traditions, and customs of the Afghan people.
“Today we see the Americans leave the scene despite all the claims that they are using NATO capabilities,” he added.
“Over the past 20 years, many Afghan officials and people had hoped that the United States might be able to do something with all the international tools at its disposal, and today we see total insecurity and war in the absence of Americans,” he highlighted.
All ethnic groups should participate in the future of Afghanistan
The deputy secretary-general said that it is thought that the Taliban is advancing rapidly due to the current situation and the question is what will happen to the future of Afghanistan.
“Ethnicity is one of the main and influential components of power in Afghanistan. If we consider the Taliban as Pashtuns, half of the Afghan people are present in government structures, so it is not a question of ethnicity to say that the Taliban are Pashtuns, another point is that many ethnicities sought a place to fight the United States and joined the Taliban,” he remarked.
In any case, Akbari said, the ethnic groups in Afghanistan make up a significant population, and how much power the Taliban will have in the future is a “logical debate”.
“If the Taliban are thought to have 20 percent of the popular base, the rest will be demanding their rights, and if it is done today with a military force, logic dictates that in the future, the tribes will participate in the future of Afghanistan, so that lasting peace and security will prevail in Afghanistan. Otherwise, we will see a long civil war in Afghanistan. It will not work and they will have to negotiate with each other,” he underlined.
Iran’s strategy in Afghanistan is negotiation instead of war
Akbari added, “The U.S. strategy after leaving Afghanistan is to create insecurity, chaos, and civil war, given that the Americans have been expelled from Afghanistan, and that NATO itself has failed in Afghanistan and left the country prematurely.”
According to Akbari, the resumption of war in Afghanistan is in the interest of the United States for whatever reason.
“This is because the Americans, to justify their presence in the other occupied countries, and to reform their past in some way, want to send the message that when we are not there, a civil war will break out in Afghanistan and killing will start again. Using a media strategy, they seek to get Afghanistan into an even short-term civil war,” he stated.
Regarding the strategy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Afghanistan, Akbari said that there should not be a war in any way, and the negotiating parties in Afghanistan should sit down now and negotiate with each other, considering the components of power in Afghanistan, and think about welfare, prosperity, and independence of Afghanistan.
The withdrawal of the Americans was a great victory for the Afghan people and the Muslim nations
Akbari said that the withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan is a great victory that was registered in the name of the Muslim nations and the people of Afghanistan.
“It is the first time that the Americans were expelled from a country and their expulsion was ordered in Iraq. Today, the Taliban have gained tremendous power and Joe Biden said that he does not want to send the next generation of Americans to fight them.”
He added that the vital solution for the Afghan people is to celebrate the day of the expulsion of the United States and for all ethnic groups to participate in the future of Afghanistan, and the only solution is negotiation.
According to Imam Khomeini, no foreigner will survive in Afghanistan
Akbari went on to say that negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha have been going on for more than 10 months and there were meetings in Moscow, Istanbul, etc.
He noted that a session was supposed to be held in Pakistan but was canceled.
“The Tehran meeting (on July 8-9) had several different features. All influential and powerful tribes in Afghanistan participated in this meeting, and it was not only the government and the Taliban, but also various other groups and movements, and this goes back to the fact that Iran’s relationship with Afghanistan has special linguistic, cultural, and religious characteristics compared to other neighboring countries,” he stated.
According to the official, Iran hosts 3.5 million Afghan immigrants.
“More than 500,000 Afghan pupils study here and we have more than 16,000 Afghan students studying in Iranian universities. Given our trades, economic and neighborhood relations, and the history we have had in the distant past, Iran has always been acting as a mediator from the beginning,” he said.
Akbari also referred to the saying of Imam Khomeini, who in February 1980 warned the ambassador of the Soviet Union who came to see Imam and said we want to occupy Afghanistan. Imam said, “you may occupy Afghanistan with military power, but neither you nor any other foreign country can survive in Afghanistan.”
He added that because the people of Afghanistan are Muslims and defend their beliefs, today all can see that the Americans were forced to flee Afghanistan at the behest of Imam Khomeini.
“We hope this issue can be an example for the Western imperialist system that is present in the Islamic countries.”
He also said that the Islamic Republic of Iran has had good relations with the Afghan government and various groups from the beginning and has tried to establish peace and security in Afghanistan, and this is in the interest of the people of Afghanistan, neighboring countries, and the Islamic world.
“At the Doha meeting yesterday (Saturday), they finally decided to nominate 14 people to continue the talks,” he said.
Senior Afghan officials to attend the Raisi inauguration
Akbari also said high-ranking officials from neighboring countries and other countries in the world have been invited to attend the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Raisi.
Of course, government officials and some former presidents, and important political figures from Afghanistan have also been invited, he added.
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