Iran on Monday called on Afghan groups to use US withdrawal as an opportunity to restore peace to their homeland, saying Afghanistan’s history shows that there is no military solution to its crises.
“While inviting all sides to maintain stability, we hope that the groups will make the most of the opportunity of the withdrawal of trans-regional forces to establish an inclusive government, while maintaining good relations with Afghanistan's neighbors,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said during a press conference.
“Afghanistan’s history shows that there is no military solution to the problem,” he said, voicing Iran’s readiness to cooperate on facilitating dialogue in the war-torn country, Press TV reported.
Iran has been by the side of Afghanistan for the past 40 years, Khatibzadeh said as he emphasized the need to protect the lives of Afghan people as well as the rights of women there.
He also expressed hope that the recently-formed Coordination Council in Afghanistan will be able to help establish peace in the country.
The current situation, he said, has unleashed a new wave of refugees, which calls for continued humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people.
The Afghan government headed by Ashraf Ghani rapidly collapsed on August 15 amid the withdrawal of US forces, 20 years after they invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban.
The Biden administration says it has an agreement with the Taliban under which the militant group should allow Americans and others to fly out of Afghanistan.
Reports have emerged in US media in recent days of Americans being harassed at checkpoints.
President Joe Biden said on Sunday that 11,000 people had been airlifted in the previous 30 hours and vowed that any American seeking to flee Afghanistan and return home will be able to do so.
“The US came to Afghanistan as an aggressor. Its entry into Afghanistan was tragic and its departure was disgraceful. This is a historic lesson for all, showing that the US, rather than bringing peace and security, has wreaked havoc wherever it has gone,” Khatibzadeh said.
Iran, he said, is seeking to establish peace and security in the region, regardless of the ghastly legacy left by the US.
“Videos coming out of Afghanistan make everyone’s heart bleed. It is a historical shame for those who claim to champion human rights. Right now, they have only kept their mouths shut except for justifying their aggression.”
Taliban deadline warning
The Taliban warned on Monday there would be "consequences" if the United States and its allies extend their presence in Afghanistan beyond next week.
The Taliban's takeover of the country came just two weeks before an August 31 deadline for all troops to fully withdraw from the country.
The Taliban showed no willingness to compromise on the US pullout.
"If the US or UK were to seek additional time to continue evacuations -- the answer is no. Or there would be consequences," Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Sky News on Monday.
Staying beyond the agreed deadline would be "extending occupation", he added.
Speaking at the White House on Sunday, Biden said talks were under way to explore the possibility of extending the deadline, AFP wrote.
He also acknowledged the tragic scenes at the airport, which have included babies and children being passed to soldiers over razor-wire fences and men clinging to the outside of departing planes.
But he said they were part of the cost of departure.