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Afghan MP Voices Opposition to Presence of Foreign Forces

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TEHRAN, April 19 (ICANA) – A senior Afghan legislator stressed his opposition to the deployment and presence of foreign troops in his country, saying that alien military bases in Afghanistan are a source of insecurity for the war-torn state and its neighbors.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011 9:30:21 PM
Afghan MP Voices Opposition to Presence of Foreign Forces

"Throughout the history, Afghans have always opposed presence of foreign powers and they do not accept a security agreement between the US and Afghanistan," Vice-President of Afghanistan's Senate Haj Mohammad Alam said in a meeting with an Iranian delegation attending the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference in Panama City.

Noting that the presence of foreign forces aggravates problems in Afghanistan, Alam reiterated that wherever NATO and Taliban troops step in, the security situation and drug cultivation and trafficking worsen.

During the meeting, member of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh described the foreign bases in Afghanistan as a source of insecurity for the neighboring countries, and called on the alien forces to leave the country's soil immediately.

Eastern Iran borders Afghanistan, which is the world's number one opium and drug producer. Iran's geographical position has made the country a favorite transit corridor for drug traffickers who intend to smuggle their cargoes from Afghanistan to drug dealers in Europe.

Iran spends billions of dollars and has lost thousands of its police troops in the war against traffickers. Owing to its rigid efforts, Iran makes 85 percent of the world's total opium seizures and has turned into the leading country in drug campaign.

The Iranian police officials maintain that drug production in Afghanistan has undergone a 40-fold increase since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

Late in May, UN Secretary General's Special Envoy to Afghanistan Staffan de Mistura acknowledged increased drug production in Afghanistan, and praised Iran's activities and efforts in fighting drug plantation, production and trafficking.

While Afghanistan produced only 185 tons of opium per year under the Taliban, according to the UN statistics, since the US-led invasion, drug production has surged to 3,400 tons annually. In 2007, the opium trade reached an estimated all-time production high of 8,200 tons.

Afghan and Western officials blame Washington and NATO for the change, saying that allies have "overlooked" the drug problem since invading the country 9 years ago.

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