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Iran, Afghanistan pledge crackdown on drug trade

30 May, 2006

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Tehran: Iran and Afghanistan pledged, during Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s visit to Tehran, to strengthen bilateral ties and to crack down on the drug trade, Iranian state television reported.

Officials signed seven Memorandums of Understanding for the reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan, investment in the country and cultural and scientific cooperation during Karzai’s two-day visit that wrapped yesterday.

"Progress and security in Afghanistan is highly important for Iran," the broadcast quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying.

Karzai, a staunch ally of the United States, held talks with Iran’s supreme leader, president, the speaker of Parliament and the Foreign Minister, who regularly criticise the US policy toward Iran - in particular, Washington’s criticism of Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Tehran and Kabul also said they would cooperate in repatriating Afghan refugees and exchanging prisoners, most of whom are illegal migrants.

Iran has hosted about two million Afghan refugees during wars that have wracked the country for much of the past quarter century. More than one million Afghans currently live in Iran.

Iran’s public and private sectors are involved in the reconstruction of transportation and communications infrastructure in Afghanistan.

The countries share a nearly 1,000-kilometer border. Iran is a stopover on the drug route between Afghanistan and Europe.

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