Kabul - A U.S. navy show of force on Iran's doorstep is "greatly alarming" for the region and the United States risked a bloody quagmire if it invaded Iran, a state-run Afghan newspaper said on Saturday.
A large flotilla of U.S. ships entered the Gulf on Wednesday in a dramatic show of military muscle, adding to pressure on Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, which the West says are an attempt to develop atomic weapons.
Afghan officials say privately a U.S. attack on neighboring Iran would further destabilize Afghanistan where U.S. and NATO troops are fighting a resurgent Taliban.
The English-language Kabul Times, which reflects the U.S.-backed government's thinking, said Iran should drop its nuclear ambition and not be so stubborn.
"This is ... greatly alarming news for the whole region lest American invaded Iran and create a blood bath of its people and another quagmire for itself," the newspaper said in an editorial.
The U.S. show of force comes less than two weeks after U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking aboard a warship during a tour of the Gulf, said Washington would stand with others to prevent Iran gaining nuclear weapons and "dominating the region."
The Kabul Times said Iran should not confront the United States.
"Diplomacy required that it should have abandoned its nuclear ambition ... It is not a good policy for a relatively small country to be stubborn and militant against a super power," it said.
Iran says it nuclear ambitions are for energy purposes only and its leaders have made clear they would not yield to pressure. Iran has also said it would resist any threat and give a "powerful answer" to its enemies.
***By Sayed Salahuddin