Iran and Russia have stepped up calls to the American authorities in Afghanistan say U.S. and Afghan officials. They seized on the uncertainty about the future policy of the United States to expand ties with the Taliban and to weaken the Western-backed government.
Exacerbated tensions between the United States, Iran and Russia over the conflict in Syria, and authorities are concerned that the consequences can hurt the chances of Afghanistan on the world. For many years, Iran and Russia made the withdrawal of US troops.
Now that the Taliban is gaining territory, and at the White house, it seems, has no clear policy towards Afghanistan, Iran and Russia stepped up support of the rebels and ousted the United States from the region.
On Friday, Russia will hold high-level talks on Afghanistan with the Iranian, Pakistani and Chinese diplomats, reported in the Kremlin. But the United States, irritated by the recent Moscow’s support against the Taliban have not confirmed their participation.
Russia “began publicly to legitimize the Taliban” and the recent actions of Russia and Iran in Afghanistan “aims to undermine the United States and NATO,” — said in the Senate, in February, General John Nicholson Jr., the commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan is approximately 8,400 troops, most of whom were part of the NATO mission to assist Afghan forces. The rest part of the operation to combat terrorism directed against “al-Qaeda” and the local branch of the “Islamic state” (banned in Russia as a terrorist organization — approx. ed.).
Nicholson said that Iran and Russia are “discussing the efforts of” supporting the rebels “Taliban”, and that Russia “has become more assertive over the past year.”
“We know that there is a dialogue. We know that in Afghanistan there is a relationship between Iran and Russia,” he said. And Iran with a long, vulnerable border with Afghanistan “has directly supported the Taliban in Western Afghanistan, he added.
Although Russia and Shiite Iran seem unlikely allies such a hard Sunni groups like the Taliban, the two countries for many years were on different sides in the conflict. Both supported the expulsion of the Taliban with US assistance in 2001, and Iran was the main “do-gooder” anti-Taliban “Northern Alliance”.
But Iran and Russia did not like the presence of the United States, both countries have seen in the United States is gradually growing threat.
“Iran is concerned that if American troops are in Afghanistan, a collision may occur between the two armies,” said Mohammad Akram, Arefi, Professor of politics at the Kateb University in Kabul.
“Iran also wants to revive its power in the region, having influence in Afghanistan. And if there is America, he will not be able to obtain the effect sought,” said he.
Russia, which also considers Afghanistan as part of its sphere of influence in Central Asia, suggested that the Taliban is an effective bulwark against the rise of the “Islamic state”. The local branch of the “Islamic state” organized deadly attacks, but are unable to gain a foothold outside their base in Eastern Afghanistan.
In an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the Afghan government, Russia has questioned the ability of Afghan security forces to fight the “Islamic state”. However, Iran and Russia refutes the statement that they provide weapons or money to the Taliban.
In a statement sent via email this week, the Russian Embassy in Kabul said that these statements is “absurd fabrications” designed to distract attention from the failure of missions of the USA and NATO.
“The number of groundless accusations against Russia on the alleged support of the movement “Taliban”, — said at the Embassy.
The press Secretary of the Taliban also called the allegations untrue.
“Our contacts with Russia are carried out only in political and diplomatic purposes,” — said in a telephone interview with a representative of Zabiulla Mujahid. He did not say whether the Taliban to be present at the Moscow talks.
But U.S. and Afghan officials say that relations between Russia, Iran and the Taliban are beyond diplomacy, and conflict with the United States in other areas may encourage Iran and Russia to raise the stakes here.
Afghan lawmakers began investigating the alleged ties, including a possible Iranian-Russian cooperation for the delivery of weapons to the rebels in the troubled provinces in the South and West.
Gul Ahmad Azami is an Afghan Senator, Farah province, located along the Iranian border. He says that intelligence officials had informed him about the weapon that was transported to Farah from Iran, partly to ensure the loyalty of local commanders. Officials in Kabul, Helmand, Uruzgan and Herat made similar statements.
In Helmand province in the South, the Governor of the province of Hayatullah Hayat listed types of weapons, which, he said, local fighters received from Russia by using Iran. This includes landmines, sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and 82-mm mortars.
“No doubt” that both countries are helping the Taliban, said Hayat. He said that he, too, was informed by intelligence officials.
He argued that the Iranian advisors were present on the battlefield, also citing intelligence reports and tribal leaders in areas where the fighting is. The police chief of Uruzgan province, Ghulam Farooq of sangari also said the Afghan service of “voice of America” that Russian advisers assisted the rebels.
None of these statements cannot be verified, and the military authorities of the United States not said if they know about the Iranian and Russian personnel on the ground. But these assertions are indicative of the level of debate about the influence of Russia and Iran, which dominates in Afghanistan in recent weeks.
“We are concerned that Afghanistan could become a second Syria, where world powers will face each other,” said Azami, Senator Farah province.
Although President trump has taken a tough stance against Iran, he said little about his vision of the U.S. role in Afghanistan. Only in the last few days, relations between the US and Russia have deteriorated sharply after the missile strike USA last week on a Syrian military airbase. The US administration argues that the airbase was used to launch aircraft that allegedly carried out the attack with the use of poison gas on April 4, which killed dozens of civilians in the Syrian province of Idlib.
According to officials, the state of relations between the US, Russia and Iran will determine the stability of Afghanistan.
“First, people are now concerned about how the Americans are set up for Afghanistan, not whether they will change their intention to support us,” said Mohammad Sinters, Advisor in the office of the head of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah.
“The relationship between Afghanistan, USA and NATO is very strong,” said Incrustations, which was held in Iran for decades. “But between Iran, the US and Russia will be a bad relationship, it will be very dangerous for us.”