US suspicious of Iran-Taliban alliance: hardline newspaper allegations

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Sadollah Zarei, a regular contributor to the hardline newspaper Kayhan, commented on Saturday in favor of an alliance between Iran and the Taliban against the United States and backed up his arguments by claiming that the Taliban supported Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian revolution 1979, when establishing their country’s independence from corrupt, foreign-backed rulers.

“It is noteworthy that over the past two decades the Taliban have followed the call of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, to Muslims to seek a government that is independent of oppressive foreign powers and corruption in their own country to fight.” “Wrote Tsarei.

Tsarei concluded his comment by stating that “Iran’s ever-growing power and the formation of an active one [joint Iran-Afghan] Resistance “is what worries the US most.

The most important foreign power, according to Zarei, is the United States, which ended its 20-year military presence in August after President Donald Trump’s 2020 Doha Agreement with the Taliban. The well-known analyst noted that the US’s greatest concern was “the ever-increasing strengthening of Iran and the formation of an active one” [Iran-Afghan] Resistance.”

Other media outlets in Iran, such as the centrist-conservative website Khabar-Online, have highlighted Kayhan’s article, portraying him as yet another attempt by hardliners to show their newfound admiration for the Sunni extremist group.

The Kayhan newspaper has analyzed the Taliban in the last few months compared to 20 years ago. In June, the newspaper stated in a comment that the movement was no longer committing sectarian crimes against Afghan Shiites and had stopped beheading people.

Many in Iran, including some influential Shiite clergy in the religious city of Qom, are skeptical of the Taliban and its pledges not to harm the Shiite minority in Afghanistan.

Tsarei previously described the Taliban leaders as “Sufis (Muslim ascetics and mystics), not Takfiris (who accuse others of apostasy, used derogatory”. Isis, Isis) and Wahhabis – who follow the predominant trend of Islam in Saudi Arabia – who view Shiist apostasy as apostasy.

Kayhan, the hard-line newspaper funded by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s office, has a small circulation but subscribers include many government and military organizations and libraries. Other Iranian media and politicians often highlight Kayhan’s editorials and commentaries, particularly those of the glamorous editor Hossein Shariatmadari, who has spoken out against nuclear talks with world powers for decades.

Zarei claimed the Taliban had accepted Iran’s national interests, including securing borders and preventing the use of Afghan soil to threaten Iran. The Taliban are also interested in maintaining trade and helping to manage the water resources, he noted.

Zarei took up the internationally widespread argument that the Taliban had understood the advantages of international recognition and a “closer and friendlier regional and international environment”.

The new Afghan rulers were looking for a “regional-international alliance” to gain international legitimacy. This must consist of Iran, China, India, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – and exclude the USA, Great Britain, France and Saudi Arabia.

Zarei suggested that Pakistan would not be part of this alliance as Islamabad would turn against the Taliban if the movement tried to annex the Pashtun tribal areas in northern Pakistan. The Taliban are is often viewed as a primarily Pashtun movement, but has also been closely supported by Pakistan since the 1990s.


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