Taliban have not presented clear plan for running Afghanistan, ex-ambassador says

September 1, 2021 - 10:46

TEHRAN - The former Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan says that the Taliban have not presented a clear plan to govern Afghanistan, noting they have put ideological and ethnic superiority on their agenda.

"The Taliban government has not been formed in Afghanistan and the country is in a kind of turmoil. Everything can happen in this situation," Abolfazl Zohrehvand told IRNA on Tuesday.

"Recent events have shown that in general the Afghan society is not pro-Taliban," he said, referring to developments in Afghanistan. 

The senior expert on Afghanistan added that the Taliban have not presented a clear plan for governing Afghanistan, arguing that the political structure of the Islamic Emirate was unclear and the nature of this thinking was ambiguous.

"It is not clear whether the Taliban want to continue to have ideological and ethnic supremacy on the agenda, and share power with different ethnic groups and tribes in the political structure intended by the Taliban," he stated.

"However, the Uzbeks and Hazaras, Afghanistan's main ethnic groups, have no role in power, and the Tajiks are in a position of resistance in the Panjshir Valley. In addition, well-known politicians such as Abdullah Abdullah are under house arrest," the former diplomat explained.

“U.S. scenario for a new round of crisis in Afghanistan”

Zohrehvand also said, "Another important point about the developments in Afghanistan is based on what scenario the Americans want to manage a new round of crisis in Afghanistan."

"Certainly, they will not have a military presence at this stage, but they can provide financial, intelligence support and organize forces remaining inside the country, as over 18,000 trained Afghan forces cooperated with the U.S. military and NATO during the U.S. presence in the country," the expert remarked.

The former Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan also called the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan a “military defeat”.

He noted, "At a time when the public opinion is aware of the destructive role of the United States in destroying Afghanistan, the Americans want to revive their military power in Afghanistan, but the important point is that in these circumstances, there is no alternative to the United States."

The former diplomat went on to say that "the escape of people from Afghanistan, scenes of which were seen at Kabul airport, showed that this alternative could not be the Taliban, and the alternative force must be able to fill the vacuum for playing role in Afghanistan."

The former Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan pointed to the recent incidents at Kabul airport, saying, "The United States has turned this situation into political capital for its future role in Afghanistan."

He claimed the Taliban's fast victory was the result of a U.S. intelligence plan, saying, “Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan, was heard to have sent a message to some security and military officials in important provinces such as Balkh, Herat and Kabul that do not resist in the face of the Taliban advances."

"This shows that the United States is implementing a new plan to compensate for its military defeat and to continue playing a role against Iran, Russia and China. The failure to resolve the Panjshir Valley issue is also a capacity that the Americans are aware of, and with all this, Afghanistan's situation and game are entering a new phase," he underscored.

“Panjshir resistance is Afghanistan's only hope” 

Referring to the resistance of Ahmad Massoud in Panjshir valley, Zohrehvand said, "Panjshir is a potential and the only point of hope for the people of Afghanistan in the face of the hegemony of the Taliban and Pakistan."

"If the Panjshir resistance against the Taliban prove successful, the protests and uprisings against the Taliban will definitely spread. The suppression of Ahmad Massoud's forces may also lead to a new confrontation with the Taliban in the country. In any case, the Taliban's confrontation with Panjshir will end to the detriment of the Taliban."

The former ambassador stated that Panjshir has become the Achilles heel of the Taliban, underlining, "It seems that the Taliban are not willing to show flexibility and continue to raise the issue of the Islamic Emirate."

He added, "The Taliban usually talk about being in power, while 'being in government and building power' and 'participation in running the government and the share of tribes in power' are different issues. If it is just a matter of being in power, the people will not accept it."

“The will of the Afghan people is important for Iran”

Referring to the remarks of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution about Afghanistan, the former diplomat said, "As the Leader said, Iran supports the people of Afghanistan, the nation of Afghanistan and the unity of this country are more important to Iran than anything else."

"Afghans are permanent residents of the region and the main components of the nation are of interest to Iran," Zohrehvand pointed out. 

"From this point of view, if the people accept the Taliban, Iran will respect their opinion, and if they want to resist it, Iran will pay attention to it, and this depends on the decisions of the Afghan people."

“Afghanistan has entered a new round of crisis”

On the flood of migration to Iran's borders by Afghan nationals, Zohrehvand also said, "The Afghan society has suffered a complete collapse and the result is migration and displacement which is very worrying for the people of this country and we must make arrangements for Afghan refugees to settle on the border and let the international community do its tasks."

"The situation in Afghanistan is changing very quickly," he said, noting, "Given the Taliban's financial situation and budget, there will be serious problems in running the country, and it seems that the country has entered a new round of crisis."

Zohrehvand concluded by saying in such a situation “the only solution to the Afghan crisis is to form a coalition government and resolve the Panjshir issue."

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