Iran’s cooperation with the Taliban could affect talks on U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan
As progress in the US-Taliban peace talks finally seems to bring the end of the war in Afghanistan within reach after 18 years, Iran has begun to be open about its cooperation with the Afghan insurgent group.
This is far from self-evident, for in the past, Iran fiercely opposed the Taliban, so much so that it initially cooperated with the United States in establishing a new government in Afghanistan to replace the Taliban regime after the US launched its military campaign in 2001. However, over the last few years, Tehran changed its approach to the Taliban and began cooperating with the group. The main incentives for this were a shared opposition to the Afghan offshoot of the Islamic State, which emerged in 2016, as well as a shared desire to limit the US military presence in Afghanistan.
Iran could now use its ties with the Taliban in order to influence the Afghan peace process, while the Taliban could use the support of Tehran to put pressure on the US during the negotiations.