Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi blamed the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for their destructive presence in Afghanistan, the Iranian presidency's website reported Friday, APA reports citing Xinhua.
Raisi made the remarks in an address to reporters at the end of his visit to the northeastern Iranian province of North Khorasan on Thursday evening, extending his condolences to the Afghan government and people who lost their lives in a deadly earthquake that rocked eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday morning.
He regretted that the people of Afghanistan are "truly oppressed," adding Iran has always been among the first countries to step up when it has come to providing humanitarian assistance.
Raisi called on the Iranian provinces along the border with Afghanistan to provide the Afghan people with any kind of assistance they can.
Earlier in the day, Raisi also noted that years of U.S. occupation have prevented the development of urban and rural development in Afghanistan, which has made it difficult at present to carry out rescue and relief operations.
In the 5.9-magnitude earthquake that jolted parts of Afghanistan including the capital city Kabul early Wednesday, more than 1,000 people have been confirmed dead and over 1,500 others injured.
Under the pretext of combating terrorism, the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and kicked off nearly two decades of occupation.
Twenty years later, the Central Asian country has been ripped apart by the prolonged war, with the economy destroyed and the political structure wrecked.
Although the war ended with a chaotic U.S. withdrawal in August 2021, the fallout from the war continues to take its toll on the country as its infrastructure remains regrettably underdeveloped