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Mullah’s regime stays in power by maintaining instability in the region

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The regime in Iran and the Taliban have gone back many years and many believe that some of the Taliban leaders had been living in Iran for a long time. (Image: tehrantimes.com)

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After two decades, the Taliban has taken power in Afghanistan one again. While Trump started negotiations with the Taliban and planned a US troop exit from Afghanistan, he at least had a step-by-step plan, which he did not manage to implement before the end of his presidency. And now with Biden as President? He did it hurriedly and that led to the present situation.

The future of Afghanistan – especially for the youth – now remains unclear. Natiq Malikzada, a journalist and writer inside Afghanistan, stated in an exclusive interview: “Despair about the future is a matter that about 30 million Afghans feel now. The people of Afghanistan, especially the younger generation, who did not experience life under Taliban rule in the 1990s, experienced twenty years of individual and social freedoms. But now that those freedoms are to be taken away with the arrival of the Taliban, despair like a black shadow has taken over and blackened all their future hopes.”

He then recounts the reason for the current situation and points to the destructive role of Afghanistan’s neighbors: “The people of Afghanistan see the current situation as the result of several things. First, the interference of neighboring countries such as Iran and Pakistan in the affairs of Afghanistan and their assistance to the Taliban, the ignoring of the destructive activities of neighboring countries to strengthen and assist the Taliban by the international community in the past few years, and the betrayal by the international community to the people of Afghanistan due to their untimely withdrawal.”

“Iran has always interfered in Afghanistan because of its water management and to increase its influence in the region. Pakistan on the other side, always meddled in Afghanistan’s internal affairs in order to prevent India from infiltrating the region,” Malikzada explained. “It is now an open secret that Pakistan always actively pursued the doctrine of strategic depth. Strategic depth is Pakistan’s military doctrine under which Pakistan uses Afghanistan as an instrument for strategic security in ongoing tensions with India by attempting to control Afghanistan as a pawn for its own political purposes.”

Malikzada emphasized that the international community betrayed the Afghan people and added that although the people of Afghanistan felt betrayed, they still hoped that the Republic of Afghanistan would defend them against the Taliban. However, the sudden surrender of the provinces to the Taliban in a matter of days, and the government’s unplanned exit increased panic among the public. When the people heard that their president had fled, they all felt completely deceived and betrayed, this time from the republican system that they thought would be defended.

He then spoke about Afghanistan’s interior problems after the Taliban came and concluded: “In fact, although the republic has so far failed to solve the problems of the Afghan people and meet their essential needs, the Afghan people have nevertheless preferred to support it till today because they believed they could influence the central government by the power of their vote. But what the future holds for the people after today depends on how the Taliban are going to establish their system. Emirate with strict laws that were twenty years ago or Emirate with changes for the role of women and to some extent also the individual freedoms of citizens. The next few days will tell us all.

Iran and the Taliban have gone back many years and many believe that some of the Taliban leaders had been living in Iran for a long time. Siawash Mohammadi, a journalist and political analyst in Germany, has classified periods of this relationship into three parts, with the first part being from the emergence of the Taliban in 1994 to the fall of the Islamic Emirate in 2001: “During this period, relations between Iran and the Taliban, led by the foreign section of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and in particular the current commander of the Quds Force, Esmail Qaani, have faced ups and downs. Despite all ideological differences, the Quds Force supported and used Taliban troops to transact drugs on the country’s western borders and balance Afghanistan’s internal civil war.”

 Mohammadi emphasizes the role of the IRGC Quds forces in this relationship and points to the second period: “The second phase of relations between the Revolutionary Guards and the Taliban was after the US and its Western allies had invaded Afghanistan.  A significant part of the Taliban had fled to Iran and settled in the Iranian provinces of Khorasan as well as Sistan and Baluchestan. During this period, relations between Iran and the Taliban were based on enmity with a common enemy, in other words, the United States and its allied forces in Afghanistan.”

“The third phase of this relationship is between 2011 to 2016 especially with the culmination of a plan to withdraw the US and allied forces from Afghanistan,” Mohammadi concluded. 

“Despite an agreement between the Iranian and Afghan governments over the shared waters of the Helmand and Harirud rivers, the Afghan government’s strategic agreement with the United States and the issue of drug exports to Europe by groups close to the Revolutionary Guards are some of the reasons for Iranian support for the Taliban.”

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“As a neighbor, Iran is very happy about what is happening now in Afghanistan,” Sirwan Mansouri, a Kurdish journalist based in the Middle East, stated. Mansouri is of the belief that Iran has helped the Taliban both with money and weapons during all these years and they have not tried to establish a democratic and stable government in Afghanistan, because in that case Iran’s role in the area’s regional events would be decreased. He believes that Iran’s regime stays in power by maintaining instability in the region: “Iran is a rebel regime and welcomes any tension in the Middle East, since it seeks its durability by destabilizing the region through helping terrorist groups, in order to have more control over the neighboring countries.”

“Iran knew very well that US troops will not be in Afghanistan anymore, so they started to plan for what happens in Afghanistan after the US and in this way, trained Taliban members, equipped them, gave them money to spend on hiring more Jihadists.” Mansouri added that, “Since a number of Taliban leaders took shelter in Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran wanted to benefit from the situation.”

Mansouri emphasized that Iran wants to create a new front en route to China through Afghanistan, because Iran, Russia and China now want to create a coalition in Afghanistan and to fill the US vacancy.

 “If anyone thinks Iran is ready to help create peace in Afghanistan, they are wrong because Iran benefits from instability in neighboring countries,” Mansouri stressed. “Iran is under pressure both inside by its people and outside by the West, so the best way is to create a crisis in its borders to suppress people under the pretext of insecurity and to show the West if you want to weaken Iran’s regime, the region will face instability and chaos and they have been successful in this way.”

Mansouri believes that Israel knows Iran better than any other country and as a result knows the best way of confronting them better:

“Other countries should take the path of Israel when confronting Iran by targeting its interests everywhere. If they did not do it, Iran will increase its activities and at the same time try to obtain the atomic bomb, which will create another North Korea which takes hostage the world by interfering more in in regional countries through supporting and equipping terrorist groups – and we will see more instability in countries like Afghanistan in the future.”

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights.  She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings at the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”  

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