Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

Iran’s great game antagonises natural Afghan allies

< 1 min

Middle East Eye, 3 May 2016

In this article looking at Iran’s relationship with and influence in Afghanistan, AAN’s Thomas Ruttig is briefly, although not fully correctly quoted:

According to Thomas Ruttig, a senior analyst at Afghanistan Analysts Network, politically active Hazaras are growing increasingly concerned about Iran’s behaviour. [I have not said “increasingly” but that I have encountered such statements over the years.]

“The interests of Shia Hazara parties and Iran do not fully overlap,” he said. 

On Iran’s reported outreach to the Taleban,

Rutting [sic] said the rise of IS was possibly now the [a] “driving force” behind Tehran’s relationship with Afghanistan. [Adding that] “There is no love lost between Iran and the Taliban,” Ruttig said. “There are multiple strings of relationships and Iran wants to keep all its options open.”  (…)

“It is not like all Hazaras are ardent supporters of Iran,” Ruttig said.

“The resentment has been there for a long time. This admission [of contact with the Taliban] by the Iranian ambassador will create more concerns among many Shia Hazara leaders [as they see their ethnic group as a target of recent Taleban splinter group abductions]. For a long time, [some of!] these leaders have not been speaking nicely about the Iranians when they are not around.”