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Updated: February 6, 2010 16:20 IST

Mottaki: Afghan extremism will spread to India, Arab states

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Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. File photo: AP.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. File photo: AP.

Taliban-linked extremism in Afghanistan is blossoming because of the Western intervention there and is set to spread to India, Central Asia and Arab states, Iran’s foreign minister warned on Saturday.

Iran is deeply concerned to prevent the spread of the drugs trade and extremism from Afghanistan, but is also bitterly critical of the NATO-led and UN-sanctioned mission in the country.

“The policies imposed in recent years ... in security, fighting against extremism and drug traffic — the policies in this respect are all defeated and failed,” Mr. Mottaki told a midnight session of the prestigious Munich Security Conference.

Taliban-linked extremism “can be divided into two (regional) branches: one is going to spread to the Arab countries, the other to India and Central Asia,” Mr. Mottaki warned.

And Iran has already had some 3,000 soldiers and police killed by drug traffickers moving from Afghanistan across Iran, he said.

After years of conflict in Afghanistan, the West is growing concerned that Islamist terrorist groups are looking to set up new bases in areas such as Yemen and Somalia.

Russia, meanwhile, warns that terrorists are launching new campaigns in the states of the NorthCaucasus.

The Munich Security Conference brings together top defence experts from around the world.

The weekend meeting was set to debate issues including the NATO mission in Afghanistan, in the presence of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and NATO Secretary GeneralAnders Fogh Rasmussen.

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