Iran can play a key role in stabilizing Afghanistan stability when the security situation in Afghanistan is precarious as Taliban insurgents have increased the number of Afghan districts under its control. Iran has been providing road links to Afghanistan through Chabahar that will link Afghanistan and the Central Asian Caucuses to India and other South Asian nations, bypassing Pakistan. United State is worried over increasing role of Russia in Afghanistan and President Trump’s national security adviser H.R. McMaster said that Pakistan needs to change its policy towards terror groups if Islamabad wants to play a role in Afghanistan’s stability. “This is Pakistan in particular that we want to really see a change in–and a reduction of their support–for–these groups,” he said. “I mean, this is– of course, you know, a very paradoxical situation, right, where Pakistan is taking great losses.”
President Trump has not announced a comprehensive strategy on winning the war in Afghanistan but has made “a number of decisions” on the military approach there.
Trump’s Afghan strategy has more role for regional countries including India to stabilize Afghanistan but Trump should take into account Iran’s role as Tehran can help stabilize Kabul in a significant way.In the past as well, Iran has been instrumental in defeating Taliban in Kabul since the days of Ahmad Shah Massud, who was a powerful military commander who fought Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the ’80s but was assassinated on September 9, 2001 by suicide bombers posing as journalists.
According to a report by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan released on Tuesday, the Taliban controls about 40 percent of the country’s territory.The Taliban controls 11 districts and influences 34 of Afghanistan’s 407 districts (11 percent), while the Afghan government controls 97 districts and influences 146 (60 percent). Twenty-nine percent of Afghanistan’s districts remain contested. Taliban control of Afghan districts has increased one percent, while Afghan control has increased by 2.5 percent, according to SIGAR. SIGAR’s assessment is based on data provided by US Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) and Resolute Support, NATO’s mission in Afghanistan.
Moreover, Iran had hosted millions of refugees from Afghanistan. The Donald Trump administration is studying a new strategy for US forces in the war-ravaged country, while NATO recently asked member countries to increase their troop contingents in Afghanistan to support the military mission. NATO continues to have about 13,000 troops on the ground as part of its Resolute Support mission to provide training to Afghan security forces, and the US has about 8,400 to assist the Kabul government with anti-terrorism operation.The President has already authorized the Pentagon to take decisions on a number of military decisions as Trump has placed no restrictions on the military that undermine the ability to win battles in combat.
US and Iran share common strategic interest like countering drug trafficking and development of Afghanistan and also Tehran has influence among Afghanistan’s political leaders and exerts soft power among the Shia, Hazara and Dari-speaking communities.