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The defense minister did not name any potential regional threats. Pakistan and Iran — both of which have far better equipped arsenals — are widely seen as two neighbors with the potential to influence the country’s shaky reconstruction effort and push to crush the stubborn Taliban insurgency.

Karimi said that building a strong military was crucial as way of ensuring the balance of power in the region and as “a deterrence for this country against our neighbors.”

“But by no means (do) we have a policy of offensive operations,” he said. “Our strategy is defensive.”