Making contact: A meeting with special representatives for Afghanistan and Pakistan at Rome’s Villa Madama on Monday.
An Iranian representative is now included in a league of international envoys from the EU, NATO, the U.S. and elsewhere—aka the International Contact Group on Afghanistan—that is engaging in an ongoing conversation about Afghanistan’s future. On Monday, the diplomatic gaggle convened in Rome for a day with an eye on another get-together next month in Lisbon, Portugal. —KA
We recognise that Iran, with its long, almost completely open border with Afghanistan and with a huge drug problem… has a role to play in the peaceful settlement of this situation in Afghanistan,” Richard Holbrooke—the US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan—told a news conference.
“So for the United States there is no problem with their presence.”
He said discussions would not be affected by the “bilateral issues” of Iran’s nuclear programme, which Iran says is for purely civilian purposes but the US insists is a cover for creating atomic weapons.