Iran Warns Against ‘Divisive Schemes’ in Afghanistan as ISIS Wages War Across Ethnic Lines
Kamran Bokhari, Director of Analytical Development at the Washington-based Newlines Institute for Strategy, told Newsweek that, while ISIS’ recruiting of separatist groups are certain to irk a number of regional powers, especially preying on China’s concerns toward Uyghur militias, “the people who are going to be most provoked are the Iranians.”
He said that ISIS is “engaged in a deliberate information operation campaign to really get under the skin of the Iranians.” And the idea, he argued, was “to trap the Taliban” in a situation in which they either go against an even more fundamentalist Sunni Muslim contingent, risking potential defections among their own ranks, or hazard the potential for international intervention after working so hard to build up clout abroad.
Iran has expressed respect for Afghanistan’s sovereignty, along with hope the Taliban itself can solve the problem. The Fatemiyoun, for its part, has so far rejected any notion of getting involved in the country that’s native to many of its fighters.
But if the killing of Shiites continues, “where does that leave the Iranians?” Bokhari asked.
“They’re going to try to activate the militias,” Bokhari said, referencing Iran’s strategy in Syria to “defend the shrines.” And “to protect Shiites here,” Bokhari added, citing a potential Iranian approach to Afghanistan, “because nobody is protecting them.”
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