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Afghan Defense Minister to Asharq Al-Awsat: Taliban Office in Qatar is Useless to us

Afghan Defense Minister to Asharq Al-Awsat: Taliban Office in Qatar is Useless to us

Sunday, 24 December, 2017 - 06:30
Afghanistan’s Defense Minister Tariq Shah Bahrami (5th-R) poses for a group picture with other defense ministers of the Saudi-led Muslim counter-terrorism alliance in the capital Riyadh.

Afghan Defense Minister Tariq Shah Bahrami stated that the Taliban office in Qatar has not produced any results since its opening in October 2013.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The Afghan government did not expect anything positive from the office and it has not produced anything of note.”

“We had previously extended a hand of friendship to the Taliban and we had spoken with those who wanted stability and accepted the Afghan constitution,” he went on to say.

“We did not however turn to those who sought to prolong the crisis and waste time,” he added.

On Afghanistan’s ties with Iran, Bahrami remarked that he received an invitation from his Iranian counterpart to visit the neighboring country.

“I did not however travel there. One must understand the sensitive relationship between Kabul and Tehran. The whole world must understand that it is a strategic partner to Afghanistan,” he stressed.

“Iran is a neighboring country and some form of trade exchange must exist between them,” added the minister, while saying that he is awaiting the reply of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on whether there was any interest in traveling to Iran.

Commenting on reports that Tehran had delivered weapons to the Iranian Taliban, he said that Afghan intelligence is working on gathering evidence to verify the claims.

“We will not jump to conclusions. We will not allow any country to intervene in our affairs,” he emphasized.

In addition, he noted that the Farah region near the Iranian border was once a tourist destination, but it is now witnessing fighting.

Furthermore, he noted that Qataris frequent the area on hunting missions.

They are there with the approval of the Afghan government, explained Bahrami.

He cited a government law that says that anyone there for the purpose of hunting must commit to developing the area.

The Qataris have indeed developed the region and set up farms there, he revealed.

Addressing military ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan, he said that no progress has been achieved in this regard.

On his participation in the recent Riyadh-hosted meeting for the Islamic countries’ military alliance against terrorism, he commented that it was one of the “most successful” conferences and it will serve Islam, Muslims and humanity as a whole.

“We should focus on revealing the true ugly face of terrorists and reveal to the world the true tolerant image of Islam,” stressed Bahrami.

Commenting on his meeting in Riyadh with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, he said that he demonstrated his complete support to the Afghan government.

He explained that any Saudi support will take place through the government without any preconditions.

“For our part, we stressed that Afghanistan was on the forefront of the battle against terrorism and we are sincere in our fight,” he stated.

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