As a result, it has increased its support to Yemeni rebels and radical Shiite groups in Bahrain. Simultaneously, the neighboring Afghanistan has emerged as Iran’s next target to expand its influence and shape its future.
In order to implement its long-term strategy in Afghanistan, Iran has increased its military support to Taliban and at the same time, counts on its own militia proxy, the Fatemiyoun Division which is made up of Afghan Shiites which was founded by Revolutionary Guards in 2013 to fight in Syria. This battle-experienced force is estimated to have more than 15,000 members and could potentially be used as an important tool to secure Iranian influence in Afghanistan.
Iranian support to Taliban became more apparent in May 2016 when the group’s top leader, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour was killed by US drone attack in Pakistan as he was returning from Iran. Jahan News, an Iranian outlet close to the Revolutionary Guards, confirmed that he had stayed in Iran for two months prior to his death and had meetings with Iranian officials. In May 2015, an Iranian news websites tied to the Revolutionary Guards reported that a Taliban delegation visited Iran and several editorials have been published in governmental press to justify Iran’s support to Taliban.
On December 12, 2016, Iran’s ambassador to Kabul, Mohammad Reza Behrami, told Tasnim News that “Iran maintains contacts with the Taliban for control and intelligence purposes”. According to a report published by Wall Street Journal on June 11, 2015, Tehran “formalized” its partnership with the Taliban in early 2014, when it opened an office for the terrorist group in Iran. Last October, a Taliban official told Pakistan’s Express Tribune that Maulvi Nek Muhammad, a veteran Taliban leader, was the group’s special envoy to Iran. Last year, a Taliban delegation, led by the group’s military commission chief Ibrahim Sadr, also visited Tehran to “seek military aid.”
According to Voice of America, “the Afghan Senate said on December 5, 2016 that it will investigate growing military ties between Taliban insurgents and Iran and Russia. Asif Nang, the governor of western Farah province said that families of a number of high ranking Taliban leaders reside in Iran and bodies of Taliban fighters who were killed in recent clashes in the provincial capital have been transported to their families in Iran. Lawmaker Jumadin Gayanwal said that Iran has supplied the group with weapons that could target and damage tanks and planes.”
A report titled “Iranian Taliban?” published by Afghanistan’s largest daily Hasht-e Sobh on November 14, claimed that “the Iranian government had recently put a military training facility inside Iran at the disposal of the Taliban.” A 2014 report by Pentagon detailed Iranian military support to Taliban. According to WSJ, “Afghan security officials said they had clear evidence that Iran was training Taliban fighters within its borders. Tehran now operates at least four Taliban training camps in the Iranian cities of Tehran, Mashhad and Zahedan and in the province of Kerman.”
The Iranian approach to Taliban has considerably evolved during the past two decades. In the late 1990s, when the group seized power in Kabul, Iran considered it as a threat and backed anti-Taliban forces. But, after 2001 when the US and its allies overthrew the Taliban regime, Iran changed its position as it considered the US presence a bigger threat. After 2001, Iran provided sanctuary to many leaders of the group and later helped them to reorganize against the United States and its allies in Afghanistan.
In 2007, after the US signed a partnership agreement with Kabul allowing American forces to stay in Afghanistan, Iran ramped up its support to Taliban. The US Department of State’s “Country Reports on Terrorism” for 2012 asserts that “Iran has arranged arms shipments to select Taliban members, including small arms and associated ammunition, rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, 107mm rockets, and plastic explosives… In 2012, the Iranians shipped a large number of weapons to Kandahar, Afghanistan, aiming to increase its influence in this key province.” The report adds that the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force “trained Taliban elements on small unit tactics, small arms, explosives, and indirect fire weapons, such as mortars, artillery, and rockets.” A series of Treasury Department terror designations reveals the relationship between the IRGC-QF and the Taliban.
Read More at: Al Arabiya – Analysis: Iran’s game plan in Afghanistan
— game plan game plan game plan game plan
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights
Feb 13, 2017 Comments Off on US Commander Warns of Russian, Iranian, Pakistani Influence in Afghanistan
Mar 07, 2015 Comments Off on Israeli General: Iranian Officers Have Taken Over Battle against Syrian Rebels
Feb 11, 2015 Comments Off on Iran hardliners’ inflexible stance
Jan 09, 2015 Comments Off on Make No Mistake: Iran is a Threat
Sep 18, 2018 Comments Off on Activists Arrested After Mass Strike in Iran’s Kurdistan Province Against “Revenge” Executions
Sep 17, 2018 Comments Off on Trump must start helping Iran’s minorities achieve regime change
Sep 13, 2018 Comments Off on Canadian MPs call on Ottawa to stand with Kurds after Iran missile attack
Sep 12, 2018 Comments Off on From Evin Prison, Attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh Condemns Iran’s Execution of Three Kurdish Prisoners
Sep 17, 2018 Comments Off on Trump must start helping Iran’s minorities achieve regime changeTrump must start helping Iran’s minorities achieve regime change Trump must start helping Iran’s minorities achieve regime change The United States’ re-imposition of sanctions on Iran prompted the Iranians to...
Sep 13, 2018 Comments Off on Canadian MPs call on Ottawa to stand with Kurds after Iran missile attackCanadian MPs call on Ottawa to stand with Kurds after Iran missile attack Canadian MPs call on Ottawa to stand with Kurds after Iran missile attack Canada should always stand with its partners when they are under attack...
Jul 14, 2016 Comments Off on Corps’ one hundred thousand of triggered missiles in Lebanon:An official Israel-threatening by CorpsIran Briefing: Since August 7, 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini declared the last Friday of Ramadhan as “Quds Day”, the Islamic Republic has always tried to hold an imposing ceremony by using state resources as well as requiring people’s involvement. This year’s Quds march had fundamental...