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Iranian Leader's Speech Prompts U.S. Walkout At Conference

From left to right, Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Tajikistan's President Imomali Rahmon and Afghan President Hamid Karzai pose for pictures during a regional conference in Dushanbe.
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has slammed U.S. policy in Afghanistan as the source of all the country's problems.

Speaking at a regional conference on March 26 in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe, Ahmadinejad's remarks prompted the U.S. delegation to walk out of the meeting.

Ahmadinejad said the United States went into Afghanistan in late 2001 under the pretext of fighting against terrorism, and was now using the same pretext to encircle the whole region.

Leaders from Afghanistan's neighboring states, as well as a U.S. delegation led by Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake, attended the Dushanbe conference.

As Ahmadinejad began to speak, the U.S. delegation left the conference hall, returning after his speech.

The conference in Dushanbe is the fifth such meeting since 2005 and aims to boost cooperation in rebuilding Afghanistan.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP

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