Iran's foreign ministry told Afghanistan on Tuesday to refrain from signing any security pact with the United States that would allow for American forces to stay in the country for the next 10 years.
The Associated Press reported the request comes just a few days before Afghan President Hamid Karzai is supposed to head to Iran for a visit. Mr. Karzai has already given a thumbs-up to the agreement with America — albeit, with last-minute conditions. Mr. Karzai's also taken off the table any hope the U.S. might have had to put pen to paper on the deal in the coming days, and announced he wouldn't sign it until April, when he's about to leave office.
Afghanistan's 11th-hour objections come from America's ongoing use of drones to root out and kill terrorists and suspected militants, a sore spot for Mr. Karzai, who says the military operations too often hit civilians.
Now Iran's waded into the debate.
The AP reported Iranian ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham as saying the "Islamic Republic of Iran does not consider the signing and approval of the pact useful for the long term expedience and interests of Afghanistan. We think approval and implementation of the deal will have negative effects on the trend of regional issues."
Iran has long-sought the removal of U.S. troops from its neighbor, Afghanistan. The two countries maintain about 580 miles of jointly owned borders.
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