Gholam-Hossein Dehqani, Iran’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, expressed concern on the issue while addressing a Security Council discussion on Tuesday.
He called attention to a report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, which had found that armed conflict in Afghanistan currently stood at its highest level since 2001 — when the United States invaded the Central Asian country in the name of the so-called war on terror.
“Afghanistan continues to face major security, political, and economic challenges,” the envoy said.
He communicated Tehran’s concern about Daesh’s growth in Afghanistan as well as the emergence there of affiliated outfits like Daesh-Khorasan, the so-called “Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan,” and “East Turkestan Islamic Movement.”
Failure to seriously confront these groups, Dehqani said, would mean that we should await a more troubled future.
The Takfiri group, which is mainly based in Iraq and Syria, has managed to make inroads into Afghanistan. The Afghan province of Nangarhar, which borders Pakistan, has been the area where Daesh has gained a foothold.
Reports say that the group has also managed to establish connections with breakaway factions of the Taliban militant group, especially those believed to be discontent with changes in Taliban’s leadership.
Daesh has also enjoyed defections from al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, although the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has pledged allegiance to the new Taliban leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, who has been leading the militants following the death of his predecessor Mullah Akhtar Mansour.
Dehqani, the Iranian deputy UN envoy, said the country “considers the development of economic cooperation with Afghanistan to be an approach toward peace and security in the [Central Asian] country.”
He said Tehran had helped Kabul complete 300 Afghan-based projects, has been offering Afghan expatriates numerous educational opportunities, and most recently signed a tripartite agreement, also including India, in order to facilitate trilateral trade.
The deal, he said links Afghanistan to the southern Iran port of Chabahar, thus connecting the landlocked country to open sea.