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Afghanistan - Iran

Iran admits giving cash to Afghanistan

Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl

Iran has admitted giving money to Afghanistan but insists that the cash payments to President Hamid Karzai’s top aide were “assistance for the reconstruction” of the war-shattered country.

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On Monday, President Hamid Karzai confirmed a report in the New York Times that payments – sometimes as high as 700,000 euros at a time – were made to his chief of staff, Umar Daudzai.

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

 "The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a neighbouring government, is deeply concerned about Afghanistan's stability, and has given much assistance for the reconstruction of Afghanistan," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has done its part in helping Afghanistan rebuild and develop its economy and will do so in the future," Mehmanparast said, without elaborating on the form of the assistance.

The White House on Monday said that it was concerned that Iran – with which it has not had diplomatic relations for 30 years – might be “trying to have a negative influence on Afghanistan”.

In northern Afghanistan, security forces on Tuesday stepped up the search for a Dutch aid worker and his Afghan driver who were kidnapped Monday.

Takhar province police chief Shah Jahan Noori said the Dutch national was the head of an NGO helping the disabled in Takhar and that he had been kidnapped and taken to the Khan Abad district of neighbouring Kunduz.

The kidnappers were criminals, according to Noori, although Interior Ministry Zemarai Bashary said it was “too soon” to say who was responsible for the abduction.
 

Afghanistan has become increasingly dangerous for aid workers. In August, 10 members of a Christian medical team were killed in northern Badakhshan province. Earlier this month, British aid worker Linda Norgrove was abducted by in eastern Afghanistan and killed during a rescue attempt.

 

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