Iran's Ahmadinejad Says USA Plays Double Game in Afghanistan

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived on Wednesday for a visit to Afghanistan, after Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said he was wary of Tehran's influence in the country.

With careful timing that Gates described as "clearly fodder for all conspiratorialists," Ahmadinejad arrived in Kabul just before Gates departed at the end of his own three-day visit, Reuters reported.

At a press conference in the Afghan capital, Ahmadinejad was asked to respond to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who earlier in the week accused Tehran of "playing a double game" by trying to have a good relationship with the Afghan government while undermining U.S. and NATO efforts by providing some support to the Taliban.

Tehran has said it supports the Afghan government and denies allegations that it helps the Taliban.

"I believe that they themselves," who are now fighting militants in Afghanistan, "are playing a double game," he said. "They themselves created terrorists and now they're saying that they are fighting terrorists."

Ahmadinejad appeared at a news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, but it was the Iranian leader who did most of the talking, The Associated Press reports.

Some 113,000 NATO-led troops have been stationed in Afghanistan to fight Taliban, al-Qaida and associated groups since the collapse of Taliban regime in late 2001 to ensure lasting peace and stability in the war-torn central Asian state.

In his speech, President Karzai described Iran as a good neighbor with historic, cultural and religious commonalities and lauded its role in the rebuilding process of Afghanistan.

Allaying Tehran's concern over the presence of NATO-led troops in Afghanistan, he said the Afghan government would not allow anyone to use its soil against its neighbor, People's Daily Online reports.

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