Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

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آیا گروه طالبان در مشهد دفتر دارد؟ [Do the Taleban have an office in Mashhad?]

AAN < 1 min

BBC Farsi, 7 January 2019

The BBC Farsi’s Fawad Masiha looked at the available sources on this subject (and the existence of a ‘Mashhad shura’ that does not recognise the Quetta shura’s authority. In his feature, he finds the source base rather narrow – although, he says, a Wall Street Journal article quoting one anonymous Western security official “became quickly very influential.“ Also many articles, including academic ones, speak of a ‘Mashhad shura’.

The author quotes a former Herat security official and a well-known Kabul-based analyst who raise their doubts about a Taleban office or even shura in Mashhad; he also quotes the Iranians denying it. Gathering the facts, the author says there is no doubt that some Taleban leaders, or at least their families live in or commute to Iran; that there had been Iran-Taleban contacts; and that there might be some kind of a Taleban office in Zahedan (Iran). But he hints that the ‘information’ about a Mashhad presence might be the work of ‘intelligence services’.