Iran urges India, Pak to help Afghanistan

New Delhi: Iran today pitched for a regional solution to the Afghan problem, saying countries like India and Pakistan can help in the reconciliation process in the war-torn nation.

The situation in Afghanistan came for discussion during the meeting between visiting Iranian leader Ali Akbar Velayati and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh where both sides agreed that the two countries could help in bringing peace and tranquility in the region.

"We have to look for solution within the region. Iran believes that people of the region are also eager to find a solution to the Afghan problem," Velayati, who is the advisor on International Affairs to Iran`s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, told reporters here, a day after his meeting with the Prime Minister.

During his media interaction, Velayati talked about the issue of India`s payment to Iran for oil imports, prospect of Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, India`s stand on Iran`s nuclear programme and situation in West Asia.

Asked about specific areas of cooperation on Afghanistan, Velayati said India, Iran, Pakistan and some Central Asian countries should help in arranging the reconciliation process among various Afghan groups.

"Neighbouring countries of Afghanistan should help in bringing peace and development in the country. We believe that the people of Afghanistan should decide their future and India and Iran should help them in the process," he said.

However, he made it clear that it did not mean that "we want to interfere in the internal matters of Afghanistan".

About the decision of the international forces to withdraw from Afghanistan, Velayati said they had no other choice but to take such a step sooner or later. If the US forces continue to remain there, they would have faced the same situation as they faced in Vietnam, he said.