Iran Warns Against US, Afghanistan's Neighbors Among Post-Taliban Peacekeepers

Tehran has warned the United Nations against including either the United States or any of Afghanistan's neighbors in an international peacekeeping force to be deployed in the landlocked nation after the campaign to flush the ruling Taliban is over, RIA Novosti quoted Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi as saying to reporters in Tehran. "Today this issue is already being studied and consultations at an international level are underway on ways to preserve peace in Afghanistan after the completion of the military operation," he said. Kharrazi welcomed the idea recently voiced by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to deploy a peacekeeping force in Afghanistan made up of military units from Muslim and non-Muslim nations. However, he insisted that all foreign troops "be sent from states that have no specific interests in Afghanistan." He said he hoped that he would have an opportunity to take up the issue personally at a meeting with representatives of the "six-plus-two" group, which involves the six states bordering on Afghanistan, the United States, and Russia, and more importantly, when he meets US Secretary of State Colin Powell in New York on November 12.

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