“Afghan soil will not be used against other nations”: Ghani

KABUL (TOLO News): President Ashraf Ghani on Friday night issued a statement saying that the “Afghan government reassures the Afghan people and the neighboring countries that Afghanistan’s territory will not be used against any other nation in the region.”

This is a response to Friday morning’s US air strike in Baghdad that killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, and several others. The assault on Soleimani sparked strong responses around world including vows of vengeance from the Iranian government and Hezbollah.

Ghani tweeted: “The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan closely monitors the situations in the region and seeks bilateral and multilateral ties with all countries in the region and the world” and “The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is gravely concerned about a possible increase in violence in the region.

In my telephone conversation with the US Secretary of State, I once again emphasized that Afghan soil must not be used against a third country or in regional conflicts.” Ghani tweeted.

Ghani said that based on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) which was signed between the two countries when Ghani took office in 2014, Afghanistan’s soil will not be used against any country.

“The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan assures the Afghan nation and its neighbors that in line with the provisions of the security agreement with the United States, Afghanistan’s soil will not be used against any foreign country,” tweeted President Ghani.

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that he had a telephone call with Ghani and the two discussed the developing situations in the region.

“Spoke with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Donald Trump’s decision to kill Qassem Soleimani to protect American lives at stake. The Iranian regime’s actions are a source of instability throughout the region. The US will protect its people and its interests.” Pompeo said.

CE Abdullah also issued a statement saying that he was saddened by the incident and offers condolences to the Iranian people and Soleimani’s family.

Abdullah said Iran is an ally, as is the US, and insisted that Afghanistan seeks a reduction of violence–both regionally and internationally. He also expressed hope that recent events will not negatively affect the situation among “friends and allies” of Afghanistan.

The airstrike was conducted near Iraq airport in Baghdad and also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF, who joined in the protests at the US embassy in Baghdad on December 31.

The US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the killing of the Iranian general risks causing a “dangerous escalation,” as quoted by AFP.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a statement condemned the killing of Iran’s elite force commander Qassem Soleimani and vowed “revenge” against the US.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards spokesman Ramazan Sharif says the forces will open a “new chapter” and that Qassem Soleimani’s goals are “clear.”

He said the Americans’ happiness will soon be changed into mourning.

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