Iran backing Taliban now

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by argumentum, Jun 14, 2015.

  1. argumentum

    argumentum Regular Member

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  3. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    By Our Foreign Staff
    3:29PM BST 13 Jun 2015
    Iran is supplying the Taliban with more weapons, training and cash, say reports

    Iran has stepped up its support for the Taliban in Afghanistan, providing at least four training camps for the movement’s fighters inside its territory, according to officials quoted in the Wall Street Journal.

    While Iran’s Shia rulers sit at the opposite end of the religious spectrum from the Taliban’s Sunni fundamentalists, the two have become allies of convenience against common enemies.

    In the past, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps gave the Taliban weapons and money to fight American and other Western forces in Afghanistan. As long ago as 2007, Western officials noted that convoys carrying weapons for the Taliban were crossing Afghanistan’s frontier with Iran.

    Today, the terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) are establishing a presence in Afghanistan, against the bitter opposition of the Taliban. Now that US and coalition troops are no longer conducting combat operations in Afghanistan, the evidence suggests that Iran is helping the Taliban against the common enemy represented by Isil.

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    One Taliban commander said that Iran was paying his monthly salary as well as supplying his fighters with guns and ammunition.

    In addition, Iran has allowed the Taliban to open an office in the eastern city of Mashhad.

    Iran now runs at least four training camps for Taliban fighters, located in Tehran as well as in Mashhad, the city of Zahedan and the province of Kerman.

    This extra support has helped the Taliban to renew their offensive against government forces in Afghanistan. “If it wasn’t for Iran, I don’t think they would’ve been able to push an offensive like they are doing now,” said Antonio Giustozzi, a Taliban expert, quoted in the Wall Street Journal.

    America and Iran are trying to settle the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear programme with a final agreement due to be signed by the end of this month. Under the likely terms of this deal, sanctions on Iran would be lifted. Billions of dollars of extra revenue would then flow into the regime’s coffers, potentially allowing them to give more support to the Taliban and other armed movements.
     
  4. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Reports of an official Taliban delegation’s clandestine visit to Iran this week raised eyebrows in both Kabul and Tehran: why would Iran, a Shia powerhouse involved in proxy wars with several Sunni states and sectarian groups in the Middle East, host a radical Sunni militant group on its soil?

    The two erstwhile foes once came to the brink of a full-blown war against each other. However, when it comes to regional politicking the two have found much in common, including their fear of the spread of the Islamic State influence in the region.

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    In 1998, Tehran deployed more than 70,000 forces along the Afghan border in a clear show of military might and threatened to invade Afghanistan and avenge the deaths of at least eight Iranian diplomats at the hands of Taliban in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif that year. Iranian generals predicted they would topple the Taliban regime within 24 hours, but the situation was defused when the United Nations interfered.

    Then, when the US-led coalition forces ousted the Taliban in late 2001 for harboring Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of attacks on 11 September 2001, Iran tacitly supported the operation.

    However, more than a decade later, the two archrivals seem to be willing to coexist in the face of the growing threat posed by Isis. This dovetails with another shared goal: pushing the United States and its western allies out of Afghanistan.

    While Tehran may not wish to see a return of a Taliban government on its eastern border, Iranian officials would not have a problem seeing the Taliban becoming part of the current western-backed Kabul administration through a much-awaited reconciliation.


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    It is for this reason that a delegation of Taliban, led by Mohammad Tayyab Agha, visited Iran on Monday and held talks with Iranian leaders. While officials in Tehran denied the visit, Iranian newspapers and Taliban confirmed that the delegation was comprised of Taliban members from their political bureau in Qatar. A Taliban statement said that the delegation discussed a number of issues with Iranian officials, including the current situation in Afghanistan, regional and Islamic world issues, and the condition of Afghan refugees in Iran.

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    Monday’s visit was not the first time a Taliban delegation has visited Iran. They have already been to the country twice. Two years ago, they even attended an Islamic “vigilance” conference hosted by Iran, according to state media reports.

    Given the ideological differences between the two, this tepid friendship between Iran and the Taliban can be explained through regional rivalries and the emergence of Isis in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

    Isis leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi has proclaimed himself as a Caliph of all Muslims, the same title that the one-eyed Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, claimed nearly two decades ago.

    Since last fall, the Taliban and a small number of militants have pledged their allegiance to al Baghdadi and raised black Isis flags during several armed skirmishes inside Afghanistan. Although the Taliban themselves repeatedly targeted civilians in the past, its spokesmen have condemned Isis for carrying out a deadly attack in eastern Afghanistan last month that left at least 35 people dead.

    Although both groups rival one another in brutal attacks, the Taliban has called on Isis to “avoid extremism” in their war in the Middle East, a plea that al Baghdadi mocked. He reportedly called Mullah Omar “a fool and illiterate warlord” undeserving of a religious title.

    Similarly, Iran has been fighting Isis forces through its militia groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Tehran has reportedly sent more than 1,000 military advisers to Iraq, conducted airstrikes against Isis targets, and has spent more than $1b dollars in military aid to Iraq. The last thing Tehran wants is an Isis presence inside Afghanistan, from where the militants could attack targets inside Iran.

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    An Iran-Taliban alliance would not only serve as deterrence vis-à-vis Isis, it could also act as a bargaining chip in Tehran’s relations with the new government in Kabul, whose recent signals of support for Saudi Arabia’s military strikes against Shia factions in Yemen did not go unnoticed. Supporting a fundamental Sunni group could also show that Tehran is not in an all-out-war against Sunni Muslims.

    Sectarian violence

    During the Taliban regime in the late 1990s, they were accused of ethnic cleansing by massacring Hazaras, a Shia minority ethnic group in Afghanistan, and of burning their villages as they advanced towards northern regions of the country. However, since its ouster, the Taliban has largely avoided sectarian and ethnic undertones in their narratives.

    In fact, the Taliban have recently publicly condemned sectarian violence against Shia. When five civilians were reportedly kidnapped and killed in a central region of the country on 17 April, the local officials blamed the Taliban for the killing. However, a Taliban statement rejected the claim a day later, saying the Kabul administration and “certain media” were stoking sectarian violence. It said the Taliban militants on the ground had tried to find and rescue “our Hazara countrymen,” but they were killed before they succeeded.

    Additionally, when 31 Hazara passengers were kidnapped on Kabul-Kandahar highway earlier this year (19 were released in an apparent prisoner swap later) the Taliban vehemently denied being behind the abduction. A Taliban statement last month even said that their militants diverted a convoy of Hazaras to protect them from crossfire between their fighters and government forces in the southern region.

    Although it is difficult to prove that the recent spate of attacks against Hazaras and Shia are the work of Isis associates or Taliban splinter groups operating without the orders of their leadership, the Taliban’s public positions on the events are noteworthy.

    In past months, the Taliban appears to be softening its formerly hostile position towards both Iran and Shia minorities.

    When a Saudi Arabia-led coalition began airstrikes against the Houthis, an Iran-backed Shia group in Yemen, in late March, most Sunni Islamic states, including the Afghan government, supported the operation. Hezi Islami, an insurgent group led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar that has separately waged war against the Kabul administration, not only supported intervention, but showed readiness to send fighters in support of the Saudi-led operation. However, despite Saudi Arabia being one of the three countries that formally recognized the Taliban regime in 1990s, the Taliban has yet to declare its official position regarding the war in Yemen.

    While a public show of cooperation is new for Iran and the Taliban, the two have covertly cooperated in the past. In 2007, Afghan border police officials in the western province of Herat showed this reporter confiscated land mines with clear Iranian trademarks intended for the Taliban in Afghanistan. They blamed Iran for training Taliban near the Iranian holy city of Mashhad.

    The same year, Nato officials accused Iran of supplying Taliban with armor-piercing bombs, or explosively formed projectiles, the same weapons that Iran was accused of providing to Iraqi insurgents fighting against US forces. Both sides denied the allegations.

    The public rapprochements concerning Iran-Taliban relations proves one thing: when faced with a common enemy – in this case Isis – even archrivals like Iran and the Taliban, which ascribe to opposing radical ideologies, can put aside their sectarian differences for the sake of national and group interests.

    Farhad Peikar is a former Afghanistan bureau chief for Deutsche Presse Agentur. This article was written in collaboration with afghanistan-today.org
     
  5. SamwiseTheBrave

    SamwiseTheBrave Regular Member

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    this has deep....... and troubling implications for india unless we are able to negotiate & get on board with taliban - and the chances of that happening are very low indeed
     
  6. aliyah

    aliyah Regular Member

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    nop its has troubling implications for pak......Taliban presently have some 14-15 outfits..... so are supported bye iran some bye uae n saudi some by india some by US.....all mess there but all have one motive screw pak
    some pak talib too to screw Afghan
     
  7. Rowdy

    Rowdy Co ja kurwa czytam! Senior Member

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    Middle east is crazy .... glad I don't live there.
    :biggrin2:
     
  8. aliyah

    aliyah Regular Member

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    yes india is best country to live in....u cant do literally anything..... can even kill someone(if u have money)....US,UK r nonsense democracy :))
     
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  9. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Then Iran is indirectly defeating NATO in Afghanistan?
     
  10. ArmchairGeneral

    ArmchairGeneral Regular Member

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    Makes no sense. Iran supported the NA because it was full of Iranic-speaking Tajiks, Turkmen and Uzbek...Why are they now backing Pashtuns?
     
  11. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    They might be viewing taliban as strategic depth the same way Pakistan views them?
     
  12. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

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    Iran also supported Syria along with others and they still support it.

    But that support can invite havoc too.
     
  13. Screambowl

    Screambowl Senior Member Senior Member

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    message is clear, Russian backed Iranian support
     
  14. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Taliban is bad for Iran. ISIS is worse. Iran had to choose the better of two evils.

    Also, Taliban is no longer a monolithic group, rather several groups that call themselves Taliban. Just like the Mujahideen during the 80s.
     
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  15. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    As PM said Iran has to choose the lesser of the Devils. IS is currently overrunning Syria which is a close ally of Iran and also Iraq which after decades has seen Shias coming to power.

    Enemy of my Enemy is my friend, also with this they will channelise the Talibans towards to the IS leaving the Hazaras alone.
     
  16. rock127

    rock127 Maulana Rockullah Senior Member

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    So this is getting complicated :devious: :devious:

    So what can Pakis do to the "terror camps" inside Iran?

    Can they take their Noooclear weapons and finish Iran OR go to UN crying? :hmm:
     
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  17. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    Middle East is awesome. It must take an awful effort to outdo Taliban in being evil. Hats off middle East. :biggrin2:
     
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  18. argumentum

    argumentum Regular Member

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    Why are Indians so quick to excuse Iran's duplicitous behavior? India should make it clear to Iran & the world that any backing whatsoever of jihadists is simply unacceptable.

    Iran is not India's friend, and as long as it remains an "Islamic Republic", it can never be. There is, however, an undercurrent of secular/Zoroastrian/Bahai feeling amongst their population. India should capitalize on its linkages with these ideas/philosophies to infiltrate Iran & ultimately overthrow the regime.
     
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  19. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    Why is US choosing to back Saudi arabia which is funding ISIS? Saudi arabia is full of barbarians and will never be an ally of US. Almost all of the terrorist funding comes from Saudi barbaria. . So why be its ally? It is called real-politik
     
  20. argumentum

    argumentum Regular Member

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    The old "realpolitik" calculations are outdated, as we can see the world is re-aligning.

    As presently constituted, Saudi and Iran are both long term enemies of liberal civilization, as are Pakistan, China and Russia. The US should not back Saudi & Pak, nor should India back Iran & Russia. Both India and America need to realize these relationships are inimical to their own interests. It's just bad realpolitik.

    Russia is increasingly siding with its old enemies China & Pakistan, while remaining close to Iran.

    Iran, Pakistan & the Arab world are engaged in a war over who owns Islam and are competing over the allegiances of jihadist groups. We need not support any of them.

    If we need their oil, we should conquer their territories & take it.
     
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  21. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    You do realise that India needs Iran more than Iran need India, right?
     

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