While the Afghan peace process hasn’t reached a conclusion, Iran is successfully buying the Taliban’s loyalty. Being involved in multiple proxy wars to upset its arch-rival, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Tehran has established close relations with the Afghan Taliban in order to use the group in proxy wars. A Taliban commander, Abdullah, confirmed supply of modern weapons to the group. He told the Wall Street Journal that Iran was providing mortars, machine guns, RPGs, explosive materials and AK-47 assault rifles. The weapons were supplied to Afghanistan through the bordering areas. Tehran probably wants the militant group to fight the Islamic State or Daesh in the first place. However, there is no guarantee that the insurgent group would not be used against Afghan security forces who are already engaged in multiple battles in different provinces to defeat the Taliban.
Iran’s recent move is worthy of severe reaction. Use of Afghans in proxy wars by Iranian authorities as pawns is not new, but happened nearly within living memory. What is very unfortunate is that Afghan authorities got no wind of this new engagement between the Taliban and Tehran. Ignorance would mean the new system in the country has not yet arrived at years of discretion and is unable to judge between what is wrong and what is right. The new weapons supply source will soon get Afghan government into hot water, as the Taliban would continue to grow because they would have no fear of diminishing resources. On the other hand, Afghan security forces would find it extremely difficult to deal with the militant group, if it became sophisticated.
If the government failed to stop Iran from this extra-constitution act, then this failure will land the nation in the mid of crisis as the country would not be in position to bear brunt of proxy wars for another forty years—where Saudi Arabia and Iran will use Afghans as scapegoats. There is no second opinion that the Taliban are quite good at embracing their enemies, once they get assurance of material support. The militant group is using ideology for power. Moreover, the Taliban and Daesh fighters are killing each other on daily basis. The Taliban know that Daesh is supporting by Arabs. Thus, their alliance with Iran is natural.
However, Afghan government should look at the recent development from its position. If Tehran was not prevented from executing its new nefarious strategy, it could turn Afghans against one another. Iran has become ambitious with aim to control everything in the region. Iran wants to dominate Afghanistan and continue interfering with the internal matters of the country. To fight the Islamic State and other terror organizations in the country, Iranian authorities should support the legitimate Afghan government instead of rebels who are killing Afghans.
Kabul should engage international partners and employ all available options to break up the partnership between the Taliban and Tehran. It is not the whirligig of time that brought the bitter experiences but our neighbors’ interference into our internal affairs. The authorities should fully realize that where the shoe pinches to address the newly emerged challenge. Instead of enduring these problems, the government should search for solutions to cure the new disease.
If the inattention persists, it will be a mere a walk-over for the neighboring countries like Iran to impose wars on Afghans and or use them as a tool of foreign policy. We shall not lose the vantage ground in order to protect our vested national interests.