Iran rules out becoming NATO supply route for Afghanistan

March 6th, 2009 - 8:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Berlin, March 6 (IANS) Iran will not allow NATO forces to use its territory to transit non-military supplies to Afghanistan, an Iranian legislator said here Friday.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi said: “Iran is not interested in becoming a logistic bridge for NATO.” He made the remarks at a press briefing at the Iranian Embassy in Berlin, IRNA reported.

He was reacting to recent German media reports that stated NATO military leaders were contemplating using the Iranian territory to deliver supplies to Afghanistan, as NATO convoys in Pakistan have repeatedly become the target of Al Qaeda and Taliban attacks.

Boroujerdi reiterated Iran’s opposition to NATO’s presence in Iran. He said the western military alliance had no place in Afghanistan for a “permanent presence” in the country. The Iranian legislator urged NATO to come up with an exit strategy for Afghanistan.

He added that the continuing deployment of NATO troops would only “lead to more extremism and terrorism”.

NATO has currently deployed around 55,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

ISAF is by far NATO’s largest military operation in Afghanistan. The UN mandated the ISAF mission in December 2001 in the wake of the overthrow of the Taliban regime in the country. The largest troop contingents come from the US with 23,220 followed by Britain with 8,910 and Germany with 3,500.

President Barack Obama has announced he would boost the number of US soldiers in Afghanistan by around 17,000. He said he would urge the European allies to make a similar commitment.

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