COMMENTARY
 
Iran, Pakistan can Solve Afghan Issue: Borojerdi
The Nation
March 24, 1997
Alauddin Borojerdi, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran and its chief envoy on Afghanistan, told me in an interview that “simply by imposing its military will, no single group can rule Afghanistan, which belongs to all ethnic and linguistic groups.”

He said, “We sincerely wish Afghanistan should get out of the lamentable circumstances it is presently facing. But, for this to happen, we need regional cooperation. And, Iran is ready to chalk out a joint strategy with Pakistan to solve the problem.”

Mr Borojerdi was part of the Iranian delegation attending an Extraordinary Session of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Islamabad. The delegation was led by Iranian President Hashmi Rafsanjani and his Foreign Minister Akbar Ali Velayati.

“Mr Velayati has recently held talks with President Leghari and some other Pakistani leaders to chalk out a cooperative approach towards the Afghan peace settlement. The main hurdle to solve the problem of Afghanistan and the continuation of hostilities there is that some elements still think that it can be solved through military means. However, the only way out is the political settlement through negotiations,” said Mr Borojerdi.

The Iranian deputy foreign minister added: “Although this gathering is not about issues like Afghanistan, we would like to discuss this issue with our Pakistani counterparts, in the light of Prime Minister Sharif’s recent statement about a joint regional approach to settle this issue. The only thing that is needed is a climate of mutual trust and confidence.”

Commenting on the Afghan warfare and its expected intensity, Mr Borojerdi said, “Afghanistan’s demographic realities and other experiences have shown that it cannot be run by one group. Such an eventuality may happen some time, but not through military means; rather through a process of politically creating the conditions of peace and tranquillity. Afghanistan belongs to all ethnic and linguistic groups, and it is they who will ultimately determine the future of Afghanistan.”

Mr Borojerdi also said his shuttle diplomacy inside and outside Afghanistan would continue. “We have sent our delegations to meet with the Taliban in Herat and Kandahar. And the Taliban delegations have visited Iran. But the problem is that Taliban continue to pursue their past policies. We do hope that with Pakistan’s help, we will be able to settle this issue.”