Proper response to neighbors’ interference

Monday, 23 January 2017 04:52 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 121 times

Although Iran has historically been an ally of anti-Taliban forces, the convergence of Taliban-Iranian interests at the moment has prompted the country to support the militants in Afghanistan. Previously viewed as a threat, Tehran now considers a strong Taliban in its interests for two reasons: firstly, a strong Taliban force is necessary to defeat Daesh also known as the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group; and secondly, if the Taliban continue to pursue their ongoing violent campaign, Afghanistan will miss up the opportunity to harness its waters flowing freely to Iran and Pakistan. 

 

Complaints from Afghan officials about an increasing Tehran support to the Taliban have recently grown. Although such concerns have long existed, the first strong, formal complaint of Iran supporting the militants was made following the Taliban’s botched onslaught on the capital of western Farah province. The governor of Farah accused Iran of providing the Taliban with advanced weaponry, and sanctuaries deep in Iranian soil. 

In a recent instance, the chief of Farah Provincial Council has alleged that Iranian officials were backing insurgents to prevent the construction of Bakhshabad Dam, a major hydropower infrastructure project in the country’s west. He added that Farah residents had been bearing the brunt of the suffering of Iran’s disruptive activities for the past six months. Additionally, Helmand governor Hayatullah Hayat has also accused Tehran of military interference and supplying weapons to the Taliban in the province, adding that it wanted to forestall the construction of new facilities on Helmand River by fueling insecurity.

The complaints about Iranian interference in Afghan affairs and its support to the rebels are so far mostly made by local officials, while the central government, particularly the presidential palace, has embraced some kind of silence, and is yet to react to the claims.   

While it is right that it is local officials who have firsthand information about the direct interference of neighboring countries, and they can understand it better than the central government, there is a need for a united and strong response to curb it. The best option to prevent Iranian interference or speak out against it is to share any relevant information with the central government, and then seek proper solutions to it at a national level.