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My Enemy’s Enemy: Iran’s Approach to the Re-emergence of the Taliban

Abbasian, P. (2022) My Enemy’s Enemy: Iran’s Approach to the Re-emergence of the Taliban. Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs .

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Over the years, Iran’s approach to the Taliban has had ups and downs. Iran welcomed the United States’ 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and worked with the American forces to overthrow the Taliban. Nevertheless, it was not long before Iran adopted an utterly opposite policy by compromising with the Taliban and supplying it with political and military support. This article examines domestic and regional factors contributing to this dramatic change in Iran’s behaviour toward the Taliban. It provides an assessment of how Tehran’s threat perception of the US military presence across its borders, the rise of the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, the increasing Afghan drug trafficking, and the influx of refugees from Afghanistan to Iranian territory have prompted Tehran to pursue a different approach toward the Taliban. It also explains how Iran’s intention to sustain water supply from Afghanistan’s rivers to the eastern provinces of Iran and resume profitable trade with Afghanistan has acted as a catalyst in expanding Iran–Taliban relations. This article argues that Iran sees the Taliban as an agent to weaken the United States, prevent the spread of ISIS in Khorasan, and strengthen Iran’s influence in Central Asia. The article concludes that although the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan poses challenges for Iran, the benefits it brings are such that it prevents Tehran from relinquishing ties with the Taliban.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): College of Arts, Business, Law and Social Sciences
Publisher: SAGE Journals
Copyright: © 2022 by SAGE Publications
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