- As the US winds down its mission in Afghanistan, Iran has launched aggressive campaigns to speed up US troop withdrawal.
- The IRGC has increased material/financial aid to the Taliban & soft-power efforts to incite anti-American sentiment.
- Iran is worried that a postwar military presence in Afghanistan would give the US a strategic advantage.
As the U.S. winds down its combat mission in Afghanistan, Iran has launched aggressive hard-power and soft-power campaigns to speed up the U.S. troop withdrawal and expand its influence in post-2014 Afghanistan. American and Afghan officials say Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has increased not only material and financial aid to the Taliban, but also its soft-power efforts to incite anti-American sentiments and derail a potential security agreement between Kabul and Washington. Iran is worried that a postwar military presence in Afghanistan would give the U.S. a strategic intelligence and military advantage amid heightened tension between Washington and Tehran over the latter’s controversial nuclear program.
Two days before President Hamid Karzai left for Washington to hold talks with President Barack Obama over America’s future role in Afghanistan on Monday, Saeed Jalili, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, traveled to Kabul to meet with Karzai and his senior aides and convey Tehran’s opposition to any American military footprint in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Jalili pledged Iran’s continued support for the Afghan government and called for all “aliens” to leave Afghanistan.