A retired British general did not believe that officials from his country and the United States could be astonished by the Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan if they read their daily intelligence reports.

This is in line with many political observers’ questions about the developments in Afghanistan and the swift collapse of the lines of defense that the West had paid dearly for in lives and money.

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan will have massive geopolitical implications for the region, and it will heavily impact regional countries, first among them Iran

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The observers question whether Western countries, particularly Britain and the United States, were unaware, with all the intelligence that has been gathered, that the Taliban would sweep past cities and occupy Afghan provinces and its capital Kabul within a few days without the Afghan army, which had been trained and equipped for over twenty years, putting up a fight.

Many don’t believe that the Taliban’s victory was the result of misjudgment or a slip-up by the US and Britain. It won’t be long before Iran enters a confrontation it would rather avoid at this time, pushing all the Shiite factions under its control to repel Taliban attacks and thereby igniting a war whose trajectory would be unknown.

The war would fragment its strength and ravage its entity, weakening it in the face of the countries that made the decision. A war that would end the Mullahs’ dreams of reestablishing a Persian empire.

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Regardless of the regime in power, Afghanistan remains a geopolitical prize because of its unexploited mineral wealth and highly strategic location. Thus, Iran and India have tried to draw it in through two projects.

The Chabahar port is an initiative that brought Iran, India and Afghanistan together in an attempt to grant the landlocked country a route/freight lane to the open seas. The hope was that the infrastructure would benefit, in the end, from the most expansive Indian transportation corridor linking north and south and is aimed at linking India with Europe.

There was another effort, though it is recent, to expand the Chinese Belt and Road such that it goes through Afghanistan – an effort Beijing only began openly exploring earlier this year.

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Shiite Iran is worried that the hard line Sunni Taliban could harbor other hard-line groups that have a similar ideology and could use Afghanistan as a base for their operations.

Tehran also worries for the Shiite minority in Afghanistan and the potential increase in drug trafficking through the porous 572-mile border the two countries share.

As for India, geography has always been what draws it most to Iran, given the fact that it shares no borders with Afghanistan.

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As well as a bulwark preventing Pakistan from having a land route to the country, India sees Iran as a viable entry point into Afghanistan, and through it, to the markets and mineral wealth of Central Asia.

To make use of this potential, New Delhi and Tehran worked together to develop and modernize the Chabahar Port in southeastern Iran.

For a long time, India has been hoping to sell Chabahar as an alternative maritime entry point into Afghanistan, but the threat of US sanctions has hindered India’s engagement with the project.

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The Taliban’s rise to power leaves Chabahar, as a safe, viable, seamless gateway to the sea, with Afghanistan a corridor to Central Asia, currently “up in the air.”

Before Kabul fell, the Taliban was able to take control of border crossings with Iran. The latter was forced to close its borders with Afghanistan, which could cut off the two billion dollars of annual trade between the two countries.

In the long term, India is worried that a Taliban-controlled government could increase Afghanistan’s trade through the Karachi and Gwadar ports instead of Chabahar.

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This means that instead of enhancing regional integration, India could resort to cooperating with Iran to look into the possibility of working with the Taliban.

This might seem like a solution, but during the 1990’s, New Delhi and Tehran, in collaboration with Moscow, provided political, military and financial assistance to the northern alliance, which was a group of Afghan leaders who had been fighting the Taliban government at the time.

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However, Tehran has worked carefully to develop a relationship with the organization despite its apprehensions, and that includes supplying the Taliban with weapons to fight US presence in the region.

Recently, they cooperated diplomatically with the Taliban in anticipation of the latter’s return to power.

The challenges on the Afghan front could have broader implications for India and Iran’s bilateral relationship. They mostly come down to the fact that their assessment is totally contradictory to that of the United States.

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India has also had difficulty maintaining a balance between its relationships with the two rivals, usually opting to contain its links with Iran because of threats of US sanctions.

Further complicating things is the agreement that runs for 25 years signed by Iran and China, India’s main strategic rival, while India has developed stronger strategic ties with Iran’s traditional foes: Israel, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirate.

Asharq Al-Awsat / ABC Flash Point News 2021.

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APB
APB
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28-08-21 17:42

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Divoc
Divoc
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Reply to  APB
29-08-21 15:06

The dirt has been removed?

Divoc
Divoc
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Reply to  Divoc
29-08-21 15:10

However, still have to clean up all the tracks left behind?

Valkry
Valkry
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Reply to  Divoc
28-04-22 21:29

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APB
APB
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28-08-21 17:42

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AdtheBad
AdtheBad
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Reply to  APB
29-08-21 10:25
APB
APB
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28-08-21 17:42

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