The Pentagon has acknowledged Iran’s key role in restoring peace and stability to war-torn Afghanistan, backtracking on Washington’s earlier claims that Tehran supports the local Taliban militant group.
“Iran seeks a stable Afghan government that is responsive to Iranian goals, the elimination of ISIS-K, the removal of the US/NATO presence, and the protection of Iranian concerns, such as water rights and border security,” the US Department of Defense said in a report sent to Congress this week.
The Pentagon also admitted Iran’s influence in Afghanistan, saying that Tehran pursues “a multitrack strategy” of engaging with the Afghan government and seeks to boost bilateral economic ties with Kabul.
“Iranian involvement is most prominent in western, central, and northern Afghanistan, where local Afghans share common history, culture, religion, and language with Iran,” according to the report. <snip>
During a visit to Afghanistan on Wednesday, Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), said Tehran had been holding a series of talks with the Taliban group “with the knowledge of the Afghan government” and would continue to do so in the future.