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Ahmadinejad Says Taliban Took Afghanistan In US-Led Satanic Plot

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said power was handed to the Taliban in Afghanistan through a "satanic plot" by western powers led by the United States. The former Iranian president, who was not cleared to run in June’s presidential election, told the ‘Afghanistan Dialogue’ program of India's WION news channel Tuesday that Pakistan, Iran and other regional countries faced dire consequences.

"A few world powers trampled on [Afghan] people's lives, basic rights, and their right to self-determination to secure their own interests… This is a disaster and great evil that will eternally soil their image,” he said. "What has happened in Afghanistan …is a plan for influencing all regional countries… a satanic and anti-human plot.”

The conspirators included Pakistan “and all countries that supported the Taliban," including Russia and China. "All of them are involved in this project," Ahmadinejad declared.

But Pakistan, China and Russia had all been double-crossed by the US: "At first glance the threat appears to be against Iran and India but soon it will become clear that the US has higher goals in the game.”.

Dolat-e Bahar, the Telegram channel of Ahmadinejad and supporters, in a post Tuesday criticized the Iranian government and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) for not sending arms to forces fighting the Taliban north of Kabul. "You didn't give Panjshir any weapons, be manly at least and give them food!" the post said.

The Taliban, who announced an interim government Tuesday, have claimed to have captured Panjshir and Afghanistan “out of the quagmire of war,” but opposition groups say fighting continues. Rebel leader Ahmad Masoud has called on Afghans to “rise up in resistance.”

Various political groups in Iran have criticised the government’s policy since the Taliban replaced the US-backed Afghan government, while pundits and social media users have accused Iranian leaders of a "passive approach" in not supporting those continuing to fight the Taliban. 

Iran has been cautious over developments and has said it continues to monitor the situation. On Monday Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh condemned  Sunday evening’s aerial attacks on the Panjshir valley allegedly carried out by Pakistan in support of the Taliban.

Speaking at a closed session of parliament Tuesday, Esmail Ghaani (Qaani), commander of the IRGC extra-territorial Qods Force, reiterated Iran’s support for an “inclusive government” and said Iran was wary of Shia-Sunni conflict.

New President Ebrahim Raisi (Raeesi), who in June’s presidential election was widely supported by Iranian Sunnis in the eastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, has stressed the importance of improving Sunni-Shia relations.

It remains unclear how widespread is the fighting in Panjshir. There have been reports that warplanes of the ousted US-backed Afghan government, which had flown to Tajikistan, bombed Taliban positions in Panjshir Monday.

Protests, particularly by women, against the Taliban have recurred in Kabul, Mazar Sharif and other locations in the past few days. On Tuesday the Taliban reportedly fired at protesters in Parwan, which a  Twitter post claimed left seven dead and around 60 wounded.  

A British-Iranian journalist, political analyst and former correspondent of The National and journalist at Iran International
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