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Tehran Daily Warns Growing Taliban Role Threatens Iran

Conservative newspaper Jomhouri Eslami warned Iran’s leaders Thursday in its lead front-page story over "the presence of Taliban terrorists along Iran's eastern borders." It criticized media outlets and "decision-making centers" for playing down the threat.

With the Taliban growing in strength thanks to “green lights” from the United States and “regional players” − presumably referring to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan − Jomhouri Eslami wrote that the group was no less a risk to Iran's national security than the Islamic State group (Isis).

"The nation of Afghanistan and the country's neighbors should prepare for hard days as the Taliban take over political power in Afghanistan once again," wrote Jomhouri Eslami. "Last week, the Taliban attacked a government post in akhar and killed 19 Afghan army and police personnel. Meanwhile, they attacked government forces south of the Orozgan Province, killing five Afghan policemen…the Taliban killed nine civilians in Balkh Province.”

The daily noted that "the new round of attacks by the Taliban” had started after the group’s peace treaty with the US was reached in February 2020 with President Donald Trump, allowing him to plan the withdrawal of remaining US forces and schedule a meeting with Taliban leaders in Camp David. “US military men have prepared the scene in Afghanistan for occupation and war-mongering by Taliban," Jomhouri Eslami wrote.

The daily quoted an un-named Afghan academic saying that the Taliban had destroyed a variety of infrastructure including schools, electricity poles, telephone lines, and hospitals in Achin, Nangarhar, and Barchi, attacking infants and women in childbirth.

“They are the enemies of human beings and their progress,” the academic said. “The Taliban, Isis, and al-Qaeda are the enemies of national unity and territorial integrity. The world needs to understand the threat of this unholy triangle. They are deeply connected and stand united as the enemies of mankind and human civilization…They are involved in drug dealing, smuggling, money laundering, and financial corruption…”

Jomhouri Eslami argued that anyone in Iran who had accepted that the Taliban would have some place in ruling Afghanistan would “share the responsibility for the crimes they commit."

During the past two weeks, Iranian state television, the flagship principlist newspaper Kayhan, and media outlets affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) have all argued that the Taliban have moderated during two decades since the US-led invasion of 2002.

Jomhouri Eslami obliquely criticized the Tasnim news agency for carrying a Taliban statement  claiming that the group "does not want anyone to be killed in Afghanistan and that it does not pose any threat against any country and is not linked to al-Qaeda and Isis."

The paper argued that "accepting that Taliban could be empowered to take over Afghanistan as Iran's neighboring country is not logical… Iranian TV used to show newsreels about Taliban's atrocities until recently, but it stopped showing such videos from Afghanistan during the past weeks.”


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