What is happening in Afghanistan? Afghanistan developments, Taliban relations with Shiites and Iran
The reason for the continuation of the war in Afghanistan is not only due to the entry of the United States into Afghanistan, Rather, it is from the last 43 years and after the discords that were planted by the British between the tribes and religions of this region And with the involvement of other foreign parties such as the Soviet Union, the United States and NATO in these conflicts made it worse and more complicated.
As the various dimensions of the recent Taliban activities become clearer and the positions of foreign and neighboring countries regarding the conflicts in Afghanistan become clearer, it is possible to examine the latest developments in this country:
1- The latest military situation in Afghanistan:
According to the latest news from the Afghan conflict, more than 90 other districts have been added to the Taliban-held areas since the beginning of the 1400 Solar Hijri year (since March 21), and clashes with the Afghan army are ongoing in many provinces of the country.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group’s militants would not attack provincial capitals until September 11, the date of Joseph Biden’s administration withdrawal from Afghanistan, because of its adherence to the Doha agreement. Zabihullah Mujahid claim comes as most areas of Kunduz, Sar-e Pul, Takhar, Ghazni, Kandahar and Helmand provinces have been captured by the Taliban and Afghan Army bases have been besieged by the Taliban.
Now, with the rising tensions and clashes, the intra-Afghan talks have stopped and the leaders of different currents such as General Abdul Rashid Dostum, Atta Muhammad Nour, Muhammad Mohaqiq etc., are wearing military uniforms and are seeking to control the areas under their influence. Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah have also been overshadowed by Western disregard, and their recent trip to the United States to seek the help and assistance of Joseph Biden has been fruitless.
Among the reasons for the rapid advance of the Taliban are the government’s financial weakness in solving economic problems, the tactical weakness of the army, the lack of unity of the opposition tribes, the dissatisfaction of the people and the withdrawal of foreign troops, etc. Based on this, it seems that the Taliban will continue their progress in different provinces until the Americans leave Afghanistan, and during this period, they will force the government and currents of Afghanistan to accept their terms.
2- What is the solution to the problems and disputes in Afghanistan?
The roots of the Afghan war are mostly in ethnic and then sometimes religious differences. The common ethnicity of Taliban-minded individuals with the Pashtuns has strengthened the group in Afghanistan in recent years, and their differences with the Hazara and Tajik tribes, some of whom were Shiites, have shifted to a Shiite-Wahhabi religious war at some point in Afghanistan’s recent history. While not the Taliban are subject to Wahhabism nor are all Hazaras, Tajiks, etc., Shiites.
In the past, the main body of the Taliban group considered their religious ideas based on the Hanafi religion, and in the years of their rule, they followed the principles of this religion. But this group has different spectrums and extremist allies such as al-Qaeda, the Haqqani network, etc., And this has strengthened the image of a religious war in Afghanistan.
Certainly the solution to such disputes is not military intervention nor the formation of a puppet government of a foreign power. Rather, it requires a series of solutions.
The following solutions are significant for solving Afghanistan’s problems:
A- The union of scholars of different religions and elites of Afghan society
B- Preventing the misuse of using the name of religious war for the ethnic-political war of the Taliban and ethnic currents
C- Stopping the war and calling it illegitimate throughout Afghanistan
D- Forming a parliament of all currents, ethnicities and religions And forming a government with trans-ethnic and trans-sectarian tendencies
Otherwise, Afghanistan will continue to fall prey to two factors, the difference between “ethnicity” and “religion”.
These solutions require international cooperation, especially in neighboring countries such as Iran, Pakistan and China. This is due to the cultural, economic and political capabilities and commonalities of these countries and, most importantly, the influence of these countries on Afghanistan.
Some domestic and foreign media cite the permanent deployment of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, the replacement of Chinese troops in Afghan military bases, the entry of Iran and the sending of Fatemiyun fighters to the war in Afghanistan, etc. as a way to end the war in Afghanistan, but in the reality they are making mistakes, and this mistake is due to their misinterpretation and lack of comprehensive understanding of the issues of Afghanistan in the last 50 years.
Some think tanks and media outlets have also talked about plans to divide Afghanistan into northern and southern parts, or the Afghan federal government. These issues cannot be properly addressed until the complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the fall or survive of the central government in Kabul, the transparency of the role of neighboring countries in Afghanistan, etc., are finally determined.
3- Relations between Afghanistan Shiites and Taliban:
Media stories about the Taliban massacre of Shiites, as well as Taliban claims that they did not attack Shiite areas of Afghanistan, are largely media taboo.
The Taliban’s views and confrontations with the Afghanistan Shiites are far more moderate than those of extremist groups in the region, such as ISIS, Sipah-e-Sahaba, the Al-Nusra Front, and others, but their differences with the Afghan Shiites are primarily “racial” and secondarily “political” and finally, it is “religious.”
The main discord between the Taliban and the Shiites of Afghanistan in recent years has been with two currents called the Unity Party (Hezbe Wahdat) led by Abdul Ali Mazari and its affiliates and the Islamic Movement of Afghanistan. The main cause of this discord was mostly the political positions of these currents in opposition to the Taliban and later the alliance with the Afghan Northern Alliance and ethnic differences with them.
These discords were exacerbated by the Taliban’s non-compliance with the peace agreement with the Hezbe Wahdat and the clashes in Kabul in 1994 and the subsequent assassination of the party’s leader, Abdul Ali Mazari. The extremist actions of some Taliban commanders in dealing with Shiites in different areas in the following years also led to deepening differences.
However, although the Taliban’s clashes with Afghan Shiites are mainly based on racial and political differences, the Taliban have not left a brilliant record in dealing with Afghan Shiites, as evidenced by recent clashes in Balkh, Maidan Wardak, Ghazni and Bamyan, Kajran district in Daykundi province, the massacre of Mirza Olang village in Sar-e Pol province, etc. And this is a matter of great concern to the Shiites of Afghanistan.
Also, some erroneous analyzes have blamed the Hazara and Tajik Shiites for these differences and say that the resistance of the Shiites in Afghanistan has worsened the situation and caused some more acute problems, which is also wrong. The role of the Taliban extremist currents in shaping the religious process in Afghanistan has been more prominent than any other group; Because the Taliban, by allying with the terrorist group al-Qaeda, infiltrated the Wahhabi ideology in their commanders and forces, and the result was the rapid collapse of their government after the US invasion.
Nevertheless, in spite of all the existing problems, now in the face of this important issue, we must be more comprehensive than ever and find the causes and try to solve them. By examining the trend and behavior of the Taliban in recent years, the Taliban organization has somehow tried to change the Taliban’s bad view of the Shiites, and we generally see more balanced and controlled behavior than in the past of this group. During the recent large-scale Taliban operation, most parts of Afghanistan have been captured by the Taliban through compromise and agreement with the elders of the districts.
4- Iran-Taliban relations and Iran’s position on resolving Afghanistan disputes:
Iran considers the solution of the problems of Afghanistan in the consensus and unity of all races and religions of this country; Because, based on his experiences since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution, he knows the West’s tactic for waging war, and that is nothing but inciting “racial” and “religious” differences.
In general, the reasons for the establishment of relations between Iran and the Taliban in recent years can be summarized as follows:
A- The Taliban, as the representative of a part of the people of Afghanistan, with whom it is necessary to communicate and talk in order to achieve peace and establish a comprehensive government in Afghanistan.
B. Countering terrorist groups such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, etc., which have become more active with the US presence in Afghanistan. (Although the Taliban themselves have carried out many terrorist acts in the past and present, they have shown that they are resilient and that they can be effective in countering major terrorist groups such as ISIS and repelling regional threats.)
C. Afghanistan is Iran’s eastern neighbor and communication with the Taliban is essential in order to establish security and control the eastern borders in parts that Taliban control.
D. Communication with the Taliban is important to prevent war between the two countries, and this issue became necessary during the attack on the Iranian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif and the events that followed in 1998.
E) The issue of refugees and common economic interests, etc., including water resources, some of which are located in areas of Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban, and Iran must engage in dialogue and interaction with them to protect its interests.
Despite the important reasons cited for the need for Iran’s relations with the Taliban, just as Iran had no role in creating the Taliban; and unlike Saudi Arabia and the UAE and Pakistan, Iran have never recognized the Taliban Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan and have not supported them militarily. Thus, the slander of Iran’s support for the recent movements of the Taliban and the overthrow of the central government is a baseless accusation by Westerners and Western figures, including Ashraf Ghani.
In addition, Iran has always informed the official government of Afghanistan of the details of relations with the Taliban and has made extensive and comprehensive efforts to establish peace and security in the country with all currents.
Thus, Iran’s relations with the Taliban are shaped by the sensitive situation in the region, and the pro-Western media tries to cover up the illegal actions of the United States and its allies, from invading and occupying Afghanistan to a unilateral agreement with one side (the Taliban) and ignoring other Afghan currents. And surely, they are trying to deceive the public opinion of the Afghan people and the people of the region to show Iran’s policy towards Afghanistan and the Taliban upside down.