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Future of Afghanistan has a regional dimension: US

world Updated: Mar 11, 2010 12:00 IST

Observing that the future of Afghanistan has a regional dimension, the Obama Administration has hoped that Iran would play a constructive role in bringing long-term peace and stability in the war-torn country.

The Obama Administration said this in its reaction to yesterday's Kabul visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who slammed US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

However, the US's reaction was a bit toned down given it is engaged in a war of words with Iran on nuclear issue.

Iran is a neighbour of Afghanistan. Obviously, it has a legitimate interest in the future of Afghanistan. There have been times in the past where the interests of Iran and the US have coincided. The two countries cooperated constructively during the Bonn process that led to the establishment of civilian government in Afghanistan, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley said.

"We have issues with respect to Iran, not only within Afghanistan, but more broad in the region. We have been prepared to have that kind of conversation with Iran. They have declined to engage seriously in response to the President's offer of engagement out of mutual interest and mutual respect," he noted.

But we understand fully that the leaders of neighbouring countries need to have dialogue. As we say, the future of Afghanistan has a regional dimension and we hope that Iran will play a more constructive role in Afghanistan in the future, Crowley said.

He, however, refused to respond to Iranian President's anti-US rhetoric while in Kabul on Tuesday. "We are in Afghanistan to play a constructive role in Afghanistan's future and we would hope that Iran does the same," he said.