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US 'skeptical' of Iran's role in Afghan

US today said it was "skeptical" of Iranian role in Afghanistan given its "history of playing a destabilising role with its neighbours" after Afghan President Hamid Karzai publicly admitted receiving bags of cash from Tehran.

world Updated: Oct 26, 2010 12:10 IST

US on Tuesday said it was "skeptical" of Iranian role in Afghanistan given its "history of playing a destabilising role with its neighbours" after Afghan President Hamid Karzai publicly admitted receiving bags of cash from Tehran.

However, the State Department, hoped that Iran, just like other governments of the region, will play a constructive role in Afghanistan. "We do not question Iran's right to provide financial assistance to Afghanistan, you know nor do we question Afghanistan's right to accept that assistance.

What we think is important is Afghans having the ability to shape their own future without negative influences, you know, from its neighbors,” the State Department spokesman P J Crowley said.

He said the US will let the Government of Afghanistan speak on how they spend the financial assistance received from other countries, but made it clear that America "remains skeptical of Iran's motives, given its history of playing a destabilising role with its neighbours".

"We hope that Iran will take responsibility to play a constructive role in the future of Afghanistan," Crowley said when asked about Karzai's admission. He said the US' assistance is focused squarely on helping the Afghan people and the government improve the quality of governance, security, justice, jobs and services and give them a "meaningful alternative" to the Taliban recruiting.

"We recognize that Iran is going to have a relationship with Afghanistan, but we're skeptical based on their track record," he said.

"It is something that we have talked to the Afghan government about. But we certainly are skeptical about the role that Iran is playing based on their track record," he noted.

"I read the (Afghan) President's remarks...going back a number of years, because of the nature of the Afghan financial system, there have been times where assistance has come into Afghanistan in the form of cash as opposed to the form of in-kind support," he said.

He said much of the US assistance is now provided electronically through financial institutions. "It's not for us to characterise the form of the support itself. The real issue is what is that assistance for. And we hope that Iran will choose to play a constructive role in Afghanistan," he said.