Following the drawdown of international troops in Afghanistan, the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif argued there has been no progress in the region during the 13-year presence of the international community in the war-hit country.
As President Ashraf Ghani was busy introducing the cabinet nominees to the Parliament, Zarif met with CEO Abdullah Abdullah after he landed in Kabul on Tuesday where they held wide-ranging discussion on key regional issues.
Zarif expressed that the drug production and trafficking has increased in Afghanistan despite billions of dollars spent by the international community to combat the phenomenon.
Pointing out the purpose of his visit to Kabul, he stressed that his country was determined to further expand relations with Afghanistan to overcome the common challenges, especially the threat of terrorism and drug trafficking.
"Unfortunately, the circumstances of our region didn't improve during the presence of foreigners in Afghanistan," Zarif said. "We have never interfered in Afghanistan's issues and we will continue with this policy."
Expressing concerns over the long presence of foreigners in the landlocked country, Zarif said, "We have shared our concerns honestly and brotherly with Afghanistan regarding the purpose of foreigners in this country because reports indicate that drug trafficking has increased during their presence."
Meanwhile, Abdullah also noted that the region was encountering deep challenges and emphasized on the country's broad security and political cooperation with the region, especially Iran.
"Today Afghanistan has reached a new stage as the presence of foreign forces is decreasing and their mission has changed into a support only," Abdullah noted. "Our region is now facing more challenges as the issue of Islamic State militants has become global."
Furthermore during his visit, the Iranian diplomat is expected to offer his President Hassan Rouhani's invitation to Ghani to visit their country.
According to reports, Ghani will visit Iran in the near future where he is expected to sign a "comprehensive security agreement" with the neighboring country on key areas of mutual interests including combat against terrorism, drug trafficking and facilitating trade relations.
Zarif is also scheduled to meet former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Nicholas Haysom, the United Nations Special Representative to Afghanistan.