Security

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Iran's dealings with Taliban constitute effort to topple Afghan government

By Sulaiman


Representatives of the Taliban attend international talks on Afghanistan in Moscow on November 9, 2018. [Yuri Kadobnov/AFP]

Representatives of the Taliban attend international talks on Afghanistan in Moscow on November 9, 2018. [Yuri Kadobnov/AFP]

KABUL -- Ongoing talks between Taliban leaders and Iranian officials are clear evidence that Tehran is placing its bets on the Taliban, say Afghan officials and analysts.

On January 1, the Taliban published a statement and confirmed the group had sent a delegation to Tehran to "share with the neighbouring country of Iran its views regarding such matters as post-occupation [Afghanistan], as well as the re-establishment of peace and security to Afghanistan and the region".

This statement came shortly after the Iranian Foreign Ministry confirmed a visit by the Taliban delegation to Tehran.


Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (second right), along with other Iranian security officials, examines a map of Afghanistan on their way to Kabul December 26. [IRIB News Agency]

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (second right), along with other Iranian security officials, examines a map of Afghanistan on their way to Kabul December 26. [IRIB News Agency]

The trip and the growing ties between Iran and the Taliban confirmed previous reports about Tehran's support of the militant group.

Iran's designs are intended to topple the Afghan government and distance Kabul from its international partners, foremost among them the United States, say Afghan analysts.

Indignation from Afghans

Afghan observers have been indignant over the news.

"The main objective behind the Taliban's visit to Iran seems to be an effort by Tehran to overthrow the Afghan government," Sayed Abdul Karim Hashimi, a Kabul-based political analyst, told Salaam Times.

"The Taliban's remarks following their talks with the Iranian officials clearly indicated that the group, backed by Tehran and Moscow, has been working hand in hand with them to undermine Afghanistan and its international supporters," he said, referring to similar reports about Russia's support of the Taliban.

These schemes by the Taliban and their regional backers are meant "to re-establish Taliban rule in Afghanistan", said Hashimi.

"The Taliban's relationship with Iran and their visit to Tehran to negotiate peace and discuss Afghanistan's future without consulting or co-ordinating with the Afghan government has not helped the peace process," he said, adding that it has even broadened the conflict and has fuelled instability throughout Afghanistan.

Afghan officials echo those concerns.

"Tehran seems to have given the Taliban a green light, supporting their bid to return to power," said Mohammad Daud Kalakani, a member of the International Relations Commission in the Wolesi Jirga (lower house of parliament).

The official invitation extended [by Iran] to the Taliban as the "Islamic Emirate" is indicative of the Tehran's recognition of the Taliban, Nabi Mesdaq, a Kabul-based political analyst, told Salaam Times.

Such recognition of a militant group's self-proclaimed name undermines the ongoing peace efforts and the negotiating position of the Afghan government, he said.

"Such arbitrary actions undertaken by the Iranian government ... will not be acceptable to the Afghan government or to our people," Mesdaq said.

"The Afghan government should address this issue with Iranian officials as soon as possible," he said.

Meanwhile, ongoing efforts are being made by the Afghan government, with full support from the United States and select members of the international community, to bring a legitimate end to the longstanding war.

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Comment bubble | 02-15-2019

I wish that one day we will have peace in our country.

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Comment bubble | 01-12-2019

Hello dear friends. Is it possible for peace to come to Afghanistan?

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Bubble reply | 01-13-2019

The probability of peace being prevailed in is weak, as long as Taliban are supported by their regional backers. For years, Iran and Pakistan have been trying to take advantage of this chaotic situation. Nevertheless, peace will certainly come provided that the government and people of Afghanistan move forward united and with a serious will.

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Comment bubble | 01-12-2019

Down with the terrorist Iran. May God return the evil of terrorists to them. May God annihilate and uproot the filthy Iranian race and people, so that the world can take a breath of relief. The IRGC, as well the entire Iran in general, have ominous intentions towards people and government of Afghanistan. One will be better off with a fair and honest enemy. We, however, are dealing with this unfair, dishonest enemy, named Iran.

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Bubble reply | 02-16-2019

The Iranians are not good people.

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Comment bubble | 01-10-2019

There is no doubt that Taliban's regional supporters intend to turn Afghanistan into yet another Vietnam for the Americans. One must not forget, however, that as a result of the lack of political ingenuity in the leaders of Kabul government, coupled with the lack of a proper regional policy in the government, the balance in Afghanistan's political relations in the region may face suspicions. There exists no country in today's world, especially from among underdeveloped countries, that does not have a hypothetical dependence. Moreover, the regional countries have interests here which have to be taken into account. The designers of the regional strategies are the the heads of Kabul government, and not their supporters. Therefore, countries of the region take advantage of this opportunity to fulfill their objectives. If this relationship is formed by the country's political elite for the purpose of protecting the county's higher interests in a lawful manner, then the need for regional countries' meddling will decrease.

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Comment bubble | 01-09-2019

Iran is the enemy of Afghanistan, and specially the Shia population. The Afghan government should place special kinds of sanctions against Iran including: stopping the flow of water and investigating cases of abuse and misconduct against immigrants in Iran.

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