Iran’s special envoy to Afghanistan Hassan Kazemi-Qomi has asserted that the United States was backing the Islamic State to conduct its attacks in Afghanistan.
According to Iranian media organization Press TV, Qomi reached Kabul as the head of a delegation of Iranian officials on Monday to discuss diplomatic ties and mutual issues effecting the two nations.
Speaking to reporters upon arrival, Qomi said that the US was supporting Daesh (Islamic State) terrorists in Afghanistan. Referring to the US, he said that the ‘aggressor country’ had tried to overpower Afghanistan for two decades and now attempted to support Islamic State (IS) after their disastrous withdrawal from the country.
Qomi said that the two countries were both impacted detrimentally by ‘Western sanctions’ and would work towards ensuring security in the region. The Iranian diplomat asserted that Iran always stood by Afghanistan both economically and politically. When asked if Iran would officially recognize the Afghan Taliban as legitimate rulers of Afghanistan, Qomi replied that his country would always support the will of Afghans.
Iran and Afghanistan have shared a complicated history. While the two nations have often faced the same treatment from western countries like US, they have often faced rocky relations, with one of the more notable agitations being the Helmand River water conflict. The Helmand River flows from Afghanistan into Iran, with the former having constructed a dam on the river. Iran had historically argued that the dam’s construction would detrimentally impact the water scare region the river served outside Afghanistan’s border.
Politically, the relations were stressed when the US took control of Afghanistan in 2001. Iran had long resisted military presence in Afghanistan. With the departure of the US troops in August, however, Iran welcomed the end of the foreign occupation.
Both countries have also shared woes over terrorist activities by Daesh, which has long fostered an anti-Shia ideology. In one of the most prominent attacks, Daesh targeted the Iranian Parliament in 2017, which killed 16.
Afghanistan meanwhile has witnessed a rise in Daesh attacks in recent weeks with the latest affront being a bomb blast in Kabul on Monday. In October the group claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in Kandahar on a Shia-mosque in which almost 60 people died and hundreds got injured.
In another attack, the group obliterated a minibus, which killed a renowned Afghan journalist and two others over the weekend in Kabul. In the beginning of this month, IS militants stormed Kabul’s National Military Hospital, which resulted in the deaths of at least 19 people, with over 50 injuries reported to boot.
The Afghan Taliban said on Monday that they had launched an operation against IS terrorists in the country. Afghanistan Interior Ministry reported that four Daesh fighters were killed, with at least ten arrested, while one blew himself up inside a house in the offensive against the terrorist organization.