Arrested Taliban cell in Herat tied to Iran's Revolutionary Guards

By Ali

The Afghan intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), arrested a seven-member Taliban cell on June 2 in Herat province. The cell had been receiving support from the Iranian regime to carry out attacks in western Afghanistan, according to Afghan authorities. [Ali/Salaam Times]

HERAT -- National Directorate of Security (NDS) personnel on June 2 arrested a seven-member Taliban cell in Herat city backed by the Iranian regime, say officials.

The group was involved in a dozen terrorist attacks in Herat city, said Herat Governor Sayed Wahid Qatali June 3.

"These terrorists were sent to Herat city by Mullah Sher Ahmad, the Taliban shadow governor of Guzara district, and Mullah Karim Shindandi, the Taliban's military chief of Shindand district, to carry out assassinations and car bombings," Qatali said.

The captured terrorist suspects were mercenaries from neighbouring countries, said Qatali without naming any specifics.

Herat authorities present detained members of a Taliban cell allegedly supported by the Iranian regime to the media in Herat city on June 3. [Omar/Salaam Times]

Herat authorities present detained members of a Taliban cell allegedly supported by the Iranian regime to the media in Herat city on June 3. [Omar/Salaam Times]

The Taliban are the elements and mercenaries serving neighbouring countries and intelligence agencies in the region, and they kill those who intend to serve Afghanistan, Qatali said.

A senior Herat official told Salaam Times on the condition of anonymity that the Taliban cell received support from the Iranian regime.

"The commander of these terrorists lives in Mashhad, Iran, and has been assigned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to attack and assassinate members of security forces and well-known individuals and to detonate bombs in the city and districts of Herat," he said.

Soldiers for Iran

Herat province shares a long border with Iran, and the Taliban move back and forth between the two countries via illegal crossings.

A Wolesi Jirga delegation that assessed Herat's security in January found that the Iranian regime provides financial and military support to 26 terrorist groups in Herat.

Tehran-backed terrorists in Herat were involved in assassinations, attacks on security forces, overrunning security posts, kidnappings and other terror activities, according to the report.

The Taliban are soldiers of the Iranian regime in Afghanistan's western region, especially in Herat, said Gen. (ret.) Mohammad Faisal Alokozai, a military analyst based in Herat city.

The Taliban are the cheapest soldiers at the service of the Iranian regime and advance Tehran's objectives in Afghanistan, he said.

All Taliban attacks in the western region are planned across the border in Khorasan and other Iranian provinces, he added.

"Iran has long-term objectives in Afghanistan," said Alokozai.

"It wants to maintain its presence in this country by using the Taliban, Fatemiyoun Division and other terrorist groups," he said, referring to an Iran-backed militia made up of Afghan mercenaries.

By increasing insecurity and assassinations, Iran is trying to cause terror and create a gap between the Afghan people and the government, he added.

War and destruction

Neighboring countries such as Iran are the main cause of war and destruction in Afghanistan, said Faisal Jamshidi, a student at Herat University.

"Iran never wants peace and development in Afghanistan," he said. "The longer the war continues in the country, the more Iran and other neighbouring countries will have a free hand to interfere."

"One of the main objectives of the Iranian government is to use the Taliban to prevent the construction of irrigation and hydro-electric dams in the country," Jamshidi said. "Therefore, it gives money and weapons to the Taliban to stop infrastructure projects and the construction of dams."

The government of Iran supports terrorists involved in killing innocent Afghans daily, he added.

Iran-backed spies and terrorists are active in many provinces of Afghanistan and are eating away like leprosy at the roots of the government and of national security, said Wali Mohammad Hussaini, a shopkeeper in Herat city.

"Although it always claims to be Afghanistan's friend, in reality, it has been a devastating enemy," he said.

Iran is a terrorist-nurturing country that stands behind conflicts in many countries in the region, including Afghanistan, he said.

"Iran has never been a good neighbor to Afghanistan and has always sought to weaken our country."

Accepting their own enslavement by Iran and by other neighbouring and regional countries, the Taliban shed innocent Afghans' blood every day, Hussaini said.

The IRGC is a terrorist organisation, well-known for conflict and murders, said Arash Basharyar, a civil society activist in Herat city.

"The Fatemiyoun Division, prepared by the IRGC to kill the inhabitants of Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan, is even more dangerous than the Taliban," he said.

"If the activities of this terrorist group are not stopped, oppression by its terrorists will surpass that by the Taliban in the near future," Basharyar said.

The Iranian government has been involved in the war and destabilisation of Afghanistan for several years, and in recent years it has increased its support of the Taliban and other terrorist groups, he added.

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The political and economic interests of Iran in Afghanistan are to have access to the Afghan markets, get Helmand River's water, prevent instability along its eastern borders and fight against drug trafficking and criminal gangs across its border with Afghanistan. Iran's economy is still suffering from the effects of the sanctions imposed by the United States and the crisis of COVID-19. The Iranian authorities are worrying about the situation in Afghanistan and in the case of instability in Afghanistan, another wave of refugees might arrive in that country. Then, Iran will not be able to handle this problem. The crisis of Pandemic of COVID-19 has intensified long-term problems and poverty in Iran among the Iran-based refugees who are trying to find employment and get health care. Iran has deported thousands of Afghans, but the violence will escalate when a fresh influx of refugees begins. Therefore, Iran is so much in favor of the current situation, or at least stability in Afghanistan, which allows Tehran to focus on its other priorities.


Afghanistan is important for Iran from different dimensions. First, Afghanistan is geopolitically important to Iran. The geographical and geopolitical location of the country has a special place in Iran's foreign policy. Second, Afghanistan is important to Iran in terms of “bio-culture”. Afghanistan has historical, cultural, linguistic, civilizational and ideological commonalities with Iran. Therefore, Iran has always tried to exploit the essence of “geo-culture” and has tried to establish extensive contacts with the groups that were culturally and religiously close to them. This could lead to a more influence of Iran in Afghanistan. Third, Afghanistan is strategically important to Iran. The influence and presence of great powers in Afghanistan is considered a serious threat to Iran's national security. Fourth, Afghanistan has ultimately geo-economic importance to Iran. More influence of Iran in Afghanistan will provide opportunity to that country to gain more economic benefits.


Iran will never trust Taliban. If Taliban take over the power in Afghanistan, they will immediately root out Iran’s influence in Afghanistan. Iran’s long-standing mistrust on Taliban has led the country to carefully pursue the peace talks of Afghanistan. Tehran is scared of the extremist elements of Taliban near Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and wants this faction not to take over the power after the formation of the new government with Taliban. Iran will cooperate with the future government of Afghanistan, in which Taliban share power, only if Tehran's basic interests are ensured. Although Iran's relationship with Taliban has improved over the past decade and Tehran has even attracted Taliban insurgents’ support, it is unclear whether this cooperation will continue after the withdrawal of American troops or not. Taliban expect to gain considerable political power as a result of negotiations for bringing peace to Afghanistan. The recent steps taken by Iran in Afghanistan indicate that the country would like to make sure whether tensions and conflicts of 1990 will be resumed after Taliban take over the power. At the end of 2018, Iranian leaders and high ranking members of Taliban, in their visit, discussed the potential grounds for cooperation in order to ascertain the situation of Afghanistan after the withdrawal of American troops, but there are still a lot of doubts as how Iran wants to accompany Taliban in the war.


The war and instability in Afghanistan has always been a concern for Tehran, and the years of war in Afghanistan have led to the influx of Afghan refugees into Iran, and yet Iran has not implemented its activities in Afghanistan in the way as it continues them in Syria, Iraq and Yemen through proxy wars. Now Iran has more tendencies to interfere in Afghanistan in order to protect its national interests and weaken the role of the United States in Afghanistan and the region. Iran is keeping a close eye on the US-Taliban’s negotiations process, as well as on the intra-Afghan talks to end America’s war in Afghanistan, and after the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps will try to have a more prominent role in Afghanistan.


Iran has close ties with Taliban. One of the factors that strengthens the potential relationship between Taliban and Iran is the Khurasan branch of ISIS, their common enemy, in Afghanistan. For this reason, Tehran postulates that Afghanistan must be a stable neighbor for this country in order to prevent the planning and launching of attack by ISIS of Afghanistan on its soil. To achieve this goal, Tehran will apparently cooperate with every faction in Afghanistan, including its former enemy, Taliban. Over the past two decades of America’s war in Afghanistan, Iran has allegedly helped Taliban and insurgents at various levels, such as equipping, training and financing. This country will probably remain as an important actor in Afghanistan. Finally, Iran is interested to maintain stability in Afghanistan.


Shut up. The Iranian government is a thousand times more dangerous than ISIS. The Iranian government is the so-called father of ISIS and other terrorists. The Iranian government is the axis of mischief in the region.


While Taliban have been ready to accept the negotiations and peace in order to end the Afghan conflict after many years of war against the Afghan government and international forces, but Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is trying to make the process fail, and cooperates with Taliban and send them weapons so that war continues in this country. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has constant contacts with Taliban, and in recent months there have been reports showing that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps provide military support to Taliban. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ military support can encourage Taliban to launch more attacks on military bases and facilities in Afghanistan.


It shows how unfortunate Afghanistan is as it has this kind of predatory dog-type neighbors (Iran and Pakistan). The two countries have been training militants for the last 45 years for destroying Afghanistan, and then they assign them to destroy Afghanistan and kill Afghans. Days before, I read somewhere that during the era of [President] Daud Khan, the Pakistani intelligence agency was training militants against the government of Afghanistan, and Iran funded the training project. Curse on such neighbors that we have. Pakistan and Iran destroyed our former national army, which was working since the era of Amir Sher Ali Khan. If America and European countries have not established our army and commando, and if there were no money from the American and European taxpayers, we would not have got the army and police for decades.