Friday, February 3, 2023

‘US Using Afghanistan as Base for Putting Iran under Pressure’

An Iranian MP says the US is using Afghanistan as its watchtower and military base in the Middle East to exert pressure on Tehran through Iran’s eastern borders.

Iranian lawmaker Jalil Rahimi Jahan-Abadi referred to the new strategy adopted by US President Donald Trump towards Afghanistan and the Middle East, and said, “In his statements, Trump has said his country is no longer fighting to establish and promote democracy and is only thinking about championing [its] common interests. These remarks reflect the naked and true face of the US.”

According to a Farsi report by ICANA, the lawmaker said since the very beginning, the US presence in Afghanistan was not aimed at creating democracy or fighting terrorism, adding the main reason for Pentagon’s military campaign in Afghanistan was the country’s geopolitical importance.

“Following the establishment of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on 15 June 2001, which increased the influence of China and Russia in Central Asia, the US lost its last two remaining bases in the region, because under the SCO’s pressure, Washington was forced to close its airbases in Manas, Kyrgyzstan, and southeastern Uzbekistan (Karshi-Khanabad (K2) Air Base).”

Of the utmost importance to Washington is that, based on the US security strategies, the country should have a significant presence in Central Asia, Rahimi Jahan-Abadi added.

“[The US] Presence in this region will enable the country to infiltrate into Russia’s backyard, put pressure on China and control India’s growing power.”

By seeking to expand its presence in Afghanistan, the US seeks to fill the void created by the closure of its bases in Central Asia, he said.

“We must not forget that Central Asia is home to enormous oil and gas resources that are important to China.”

US Definition of Shared Interests with Kabul

The Iranian lawmaker said a major part of what occurs in Kabul takes place to justify the Americans’ presence in Afghanistan.

On the other hand, the MP added, since Kabul lacks full authority, it would fail to guarantee Afghanistan’s security in the absence of the US.

He noted that the true definition of what Washington calls its “common interests” with Kabul is that the US presence in Afghanistan benefits both countries.

However, Rahimi Jahan-Abadi said, the fact is that, at present, Washington fails to have an accurate understanding of what is really taking place in the region on the ground.

As an underdeveloped country, Afghanistan is struggling with poverty, high unemployment rate and racial as well as ethnical differences and conflicts, he said, adding, “Therefore, it is tolerating a major portion of the problems.”

“Unless the country’s social, economic and cultural problems are resolved, we will witness conflicts, bloodshed and the continued presence of terrorism in the Asian state.”

He said the presence of trans-regional forces in Afghanistan will fail to produce favourable results in the country and will only lead to the imposition of a heavier burden and terrible costs on Kabul as it will strengthen Taliban, al-Qaeda and, even, ISIS.

How to Rescue Afghanistan

The MP said everyone will have to accept that Kabul would not welcome the US withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan, unless the Afghan government forms a regional coalition with its neighbouring states and assumes full internal authority.

He urged countries including Iran, India, China, Russia and Pakistan to bolster support for Kabul to enable Afghanistan to reduce its dependence on the US.

“The only way to force the US to exit Afghanistan is by strengthening the Asian state’s central government and preparing the ground for its accelerated economic development.”

The US has fiercely clung to Afghanistan to use the country as its watchtower and maintain its dominance over China’s new energy artery, he said

“Today, the Chinese government prefers to meet its energy needs by importing oil from the Central Asia and is making considerable effort to this end.”

This comes as China has not stopped importing energy from the Persian Gulf as Beijing knows it very well that Russia would not refrain from reaching a deal with the enemy in critical moments in case it feels that the other side [China] has become reliant on it, Rahimi Jahan-Abadi added.

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