Quds Force commander says Iran will take 'realistic' approach in Afghanistan
Iran must strike a balance between accepting the reality of the Taliban and supporting Shiite and other ethnic groups.
September 8, 2021
Iran’s Quds Force commander Esmail Ghaani spoke to parliament
during a closed session Tuesday about the situation in neighboring Afghanistan.
According to Iranian parliamentarian Alireza Soleimani, Ghaani said Iran had a number of priorities in Afghanistan. The first was that Iran’s security in Afghanistan not be “compromised.” Ghaani said the US goal is to have Iran’s government involved in conflicts with Sunni actors. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a Shiite state and the majority of Iranians are Shiite. The Taliban is a Sunni sect from the Pashtun ethnic group, and before 9/11 it engaged in atrocities against Afghanistan’s Shiite communities.
“The Shiite of Afghanistan has a high importance for the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Ghaani said at the parliament meeting. “Iran’s efforts [are aimed at ensuring] that the situation in Afghanistan not be solved through war, and that all groups in Afghanistan have a share of the country.”
On Tuesday, the Taliban government named an interim government, releasing a Cabinet list that showed 90% of posts going to Pashtun Afghanis. There were no Cabinet posts given to members of Afghanistan’s Shiite Hazara, which are the third-largest ethnic group in the country. It is certainly Iran’s desire to have an inclusive Afghan government that includes not only Shiites but also other minority member groups such as Persian-speaking Tajiks. But Iranian officials have little influence over the group.
An article in Tasnim News Agency touched on Iran’s delicate position
in Afghanistan in which Tehran must protect the Shiite community without completely distancing itself from the Taliban, which effectively rules all of the country. The article said the country must have a “realistic” approach while pursuing the country’s “revolutionary ideals.”
The article was written in response to the fighting between the Taliban and followers of Ahmad Massoud in Panjshir, who are essentially the last pocket of resistance to Taliban rule. Some Iranians on social media have expressed sympathy for the Panjshir resistance and question the Iranian government for not helping them. The article said that liberals who were criticizing Iran’s position of non-interference are a “joke” and should not be taken seriously. The article continued that revolutionary Iranians who think like this have “not seen all of the reality.”
The article, summing up Iran’s position, wrote that the Islamic Republic does not want a civil or ethnic war next door in Afghanistan.
An article in Jahan news also attacked “celebrities” and other social media activists for supporting Panjshir. The article wrote that Iran had already condemned the attacks on Panjshir and noted it was also ironic that many of these activists have criticized Iran’s former Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, who organized militias in the region, and Iran’s support for Hezbollah, yet they are actively pushing for Iran to enter another arena by supporting a militia group — one that’s likely doomed to fail.
MORE FROM AL-MONITOR STAFF
Scientists reconstruct facial features of 2,000-year-old mummies
Hagar Hosny | Egypt | Oct 6, 2021
Turkey requests to buy 40 US F-16 fighter planes
Al-Monitor Staff | News Brief | Oct 8, 2021
Israel still fears US approach to Iran
Ben Caspit | Israel | Oct 8, 2021
Intel: US lifts Iran-related sanctions, says no connection to nuclear deal
Elizabeth Hagedorn | Iran | Oct 8, 2021
Palestinian video game strikes Israel’s nerve
Mai Abu Hasaneen | Palestine | Oct 10, 2021
Intel: Israel sees bad faith in Iran’s delay to return to nuclear talks
Jared Szuba | Iran | Oct 14, 2021
EU sends diplomat to Tehran as uncertainty grows over Iran deal
Al-Monitor Staff | Iran | Oct 14, 2021
US envoy headed to Gulf to discuss ‘options’ on Iran’s nuclear program
Al-Monitor Staff | Iran | Oct 14, 2021
Iran’s president calls for tighter internet control
Al-Monitor Staff | Iran | Oct 13, 2021
Khamenei may still prefer a nuclear deal over a nuclear weapon, says Ken Pollack
International security expert Eviatar Matania: 40% of global cyber investments reach Israel
Iran unlikely to consider crossing nuclear weapons threshold unless attacked, says Ali Vaez
"The eighteen days of the revolution were the best days of my life," says Egyptian novelist Alaa Al Aswany
Welcome to Reading the Middle East with Gilles Kepel
© 2021 Al-Monitor, LLC. All rights reserved.