Why Tehran Is Courting the Taliban

Why Tehran Is Courting the Taliban

Back in 2001, as the United States worked with other world powers to reassemble the pieces in Afghanistan, Iran was a key ally. Despite its long-running conflict with the United States, Tehran pressured and cajoled its allies in the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance to compromise in support of what is now the Hamid Karzai-led government in Kabul.

Since then, however, Iran has hedged its bets, providing overt support to Karzai’s government – including, at one time, literally bags of cash – while, at the same time, quietly giving covert backing to the various Afghan insurgent groups including the Taliban. Now there are new reports that Iran may be setting the stage for a more lethal form of aid to the Taliban, sending a not-so-subtle message to Washington that the remaining American and other NATO troops in Afghanistan would be targeted as part of Iran's retaliation to either a U.S. or Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities.

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