Shahram Akbarzadeh
Shahram Akbarzadeh: ‘Iran’s Policy towards Afghanistan: In the Shadow of the United States,’ Journal of Asian security and International Affairs, Vol. 1, No. 1 (April 2014), pp. 63-78.
Publication year: 2014

The fall of the Taliban in 2001 presented Iran with a complex strategic situation. On the one hand, the removal of the Taliban promised to open up new opportunities for Iran to expand its influence, based on historical and cultural ties between Iran and Afghanistan. On the other hand, the 2001 operation brought the United States (US) to the region. The large scale entrenchment of US troops on the eastern borders of Iran presented tangible security risks, dominating Iran’s strategic outlook. The closure of the US base in Uzbekistan and the planned withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan have offered an opportunity to policy makers in Iran to recalibrate bilateral relations with Afghanistan. But the Iranian leadership appears too slow in readjusting its strategic outlook, keeping Iran’s policy towards Afghanistan hostage to its hostility towards the US.