In the present time, Taliban takeover in Afghanistan is gaining momentum while the foreign forces are getting ready to completely evacuate the Country. Out of many countries which are worried about this gruesome and violent takeover, one country which should be more worried from this recent development is Iran. Afghanistan is the immediate neighbor of Iran which is a cause of concern for Iranian Government. Last time during 1990s, when Taliban came to power it create a tense environment around the region.
Why Iran hates Taliban ?
Taliban fighters are hardline Sunni Muslims who believes in enforcing Sharia Law. Iran has majority population of Shia Muslims which faced constant attacks by Taliban in past. It is due to the region that Iran shares a long border of 921 km with Afghanistan and whenever Taliban comes in control they start attacking the border regions of Iran.
Iran-Afghanistan 1998 Incident
In 1998, when Taliban took over the city of Mazar-i-sharif, they seiged Iranian consulates and later on they brutually killed them along with a Journalist. This incident did not go well with Iranian Government resulting into sever diplomatic ties. Iran supported Northern Alliance that time which was fighting against Taliban. The rule of Taliban was then recognized by only handful of nations like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and UAE which lasted till US led invasion on 2001.
Iran Backed Hezbollah
Hezbollah was formed in the year 1982 by a group of young shi’a militants initially in Lebanon. Then this group expanded itself over the years and now has the presence in countries like Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. This groups takes its orders from Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps(IRGC) officers. It is known to be funded, maintained and trained by IRGC. There is a local Iran backed Shi’a militant group in Afghanistan called Fatemiyoun Brigade or Hezbollah Afghanistan which works under the behest of Iranian Government. More about Hezbollah Regional Activities.
Helmand River Issue
There is an ongoing dispute between Afghanistan and Iran on Afghanistan longest Helmand river which is also known as “Lifeline of water” in Afghanistan. While the country has enough water resources but in terms of storage capacity, it is one of the lowest in the World. With the construction of Kamal Khan Dam on Helmand river, a water rights issue started between both the countries with the Iran claim that dam will do the environmental damage mostly on its water stressed south eastern region bordering Afghanistan.
Both the countries were trying to resolve this conflict but with Taliban coming back to power it is almost impossible for Iran to resolve this conflict and likely to cause more problem on this matter.
Trading through Chabahar Port
With most of the countries worried about the current development but still there are few which will be benefitted from this Taliban takeover, one such country is Pakistan. Countries like Pakistan and China will try to dislodge the trade and investment through Chabahar Port by stopping trade flow to Central Asian Countries through Afghanistan. This will leave with only option of using Pakistan Karachi and Gwadar Port to reach the Central Asian Countries. Hence making Chabahar Port useless which further cause huge financial losses to Iran.
How It Affects India
India has multi dollar Investment in Afghanistan which is under constant threat from Taliban. In the series of events, Taliban recently captured Mi-35 Helicopter from Kunduz base which was gifted by India to Afghanistan. With the news of Afghan army surrendering to Taliban on almost all the fronts it is almost certain that Taliban will seize or destroy all the Infrastructure assets developed by India under India-Afghanistan Partnership.