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Ahmadinejad tirade on Afghanistan prompts US walkout

27 March, 2012

DUSHANBE: A US delegation walked out of a conference in Tajikistan on Monday during a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lambasting US policy on Afghanistan as the source of all the nation's troubles.

Ahmadinejad launched his new tirade against Washington at the meeting in the Tajik capital Dushanbe attended by leaders of Afghanistan's neighbours as well as a US delegation led by Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake.

"The cause of all the ills in Afghanistan is the presence on Afghan soil of NATO forces and above all those of the US," the Iranian president told the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA).

As the firebrand Iranian president was giving his speech, Blake pointedly led the US delegation out of the conference hall. Once his address was over, the delegation returned to listen to other speakers.

Karzai said that Afghanistan had worked out a national development strategy and had opened up its markets but complained that previous conferences had been long on words and short on actions.

End.

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