Iran defense minister in Kabul as Afghans eye security

June 18, 2011 19:18

KABUL - Iran's defense minister made a landmark visit to Afghanistan on Saturday to bolster ties as Kabul prepares to assume security control from NATO-led forces and Washington seeks to wind down its almost decade-old tenure.

Majority Shi'ite Iran and majority Sunni Afghanistan share a long border and history, and Western powers have alleged that Tehran's involvement included supporting the Taliban insurgency to compete with US influence. Iran denies that charge.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran considers Afghanistan's security as its own security, has put a lot of effort towards stability in Afghanistan and will continue to help in this regard," Iranian state broadcaster IRIB quoted Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi as saying.

Vahidi's visit, during which he met Afghan counterpart Abdul Rahim Wardak, was the first by an Iranian defense minister in 92 years, according to IRIB.

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