Iran and the Afghan Taliban are Finding Extraordinary Foundations for Bridging Differences: Dr. Akram Zaheer

Iran and the Taliban have long been at the forefront to find extraordinary foundations for bridging differences. But in recent days, Iran’s foreign ministry has expressed outrage at the Taliban’s management of the Panjshir Valley, indicating unrest among members of the both sides. In addition, Tehran feels to be insecure about Pakistani influence in Afghanistan because of strong ties between the Taliban and Pakistan, with some Taliban leaders located near Islamabad. Although Iran opposes civil war and foreign intervention in Afghanistan but Mohammad Marandi, an Iranian-American educational and political analyst, told TRT World, clearing up that the Iranian Foreign Ministry had visited the Panjshir Valley. The Taliban’s actions are clearly in opposition to the legendary Mujahideen leader, Ahmad Shah Masood, and his allied establishment. On Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzada raised Tehran’s concerns over the Taliban operation in the al-Shab Valley. The information received from Panjshir is disturbing. The attacks on Panjshir have been strongly condemned. The martyrdom of Afghan leaders is a very sad incident. Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also criticized the Taliban and echoed its ancient influence but Marandi believes that relationship between Iran and the Taliban are no longer deteriorating, and he also realizes that “Ahmadinejad has nothing to do with Iranian political context. He says Tehran still examines the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Tehran believes that the Taliban is not the same entity that came to power in 1996, and since it has special factions, it cannot be described as a relevant entity. Although Washington rolled out the carpet under former corrupt Afghan officials but the Taliban declare Afghanistan through allies of Tajiks, thousands and Uzbeks to stop fighting the establishment. But Fatima Karim Khan, a Tehran-based All-Iranian journalist, believes things are not what they used to be. “We can see that the honeymoon is over, but it’s too early to prove what happens next,” Karim Khan told TRT World. In addition, Karim Khan sees many problems within the new Afghan authorities. According to him, the Taliban talked of creating a multi-ethnic authority, but as you can see, the authorities are completely semi-Pashtun, the Hazaras have no role, and the Tajiks, Uzbeks and Shiites have no role. The present Taliban is a Pashtun government. On the other hand, the Establishment no longer tolerates the Taliban in Afghanistan, along with non-Taliban Mujahideen leaders, Massoud and others. Iran has provided advance assistance to the Afghan Transitional Council, which includes key figures in addition to former President Hamid Karzai. But the Taliban were unwilling to negotiate with them. These are the most important elements that surround the path of Iran and the Taliban. And Mohammad Athar Javed, the owner of a tank based primarily in Washington and a partner in global security software in the United States, also warned about the escalation of tensions between Iran and the Taliban, therefore, we have to wait and see. Analysts agree that if Iran opposes the Taliban without delay, it will create problems because the West wants the anti-Iranian Taliban a good way to put pressure on Tehran. Now, the tension with the Taliban is that despite the withdrawal from Afghanistan, NATO, the world’s most effective ally of US, still wants to destabilize Asia and wants to resolve every civil war conflict within the war-torn.

But today the geopolitical and strategic environment of Afghanistan is different than past. The Sunni Taliban is no longer just a guerrilla force but they are ruling the country. Another Sunni group with the same alleged Islamic State is also operating in Afghanistan, and the country could attract similar militant groups that raise concerns in Iran. Instability in Afghanistan, conflict between factions and Sunni militancy are all factors that present Iran with a strategic issue that it may not have anticipated. The new Iranian government is already dealing with a weak economy and a third wave of Covid-19 infections. It now faces unpredictability on its eastern front.

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