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But when a US-led coalition invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to overthrow the Taliban, Iran was not disappointed.Iran played a key role in Afghanistan’s state-formation and reconstruction process in the immediate aftermath of the Taliban’s ouster.

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The Afghan provinces of Herat, Farah, and Nimruz border Iran.Iran and Afghanistan share several religious, linguistic, and ethnic groups that create cultural overlaps between the two countries.Although Afghanistan is predominately Sunni Muslim (80 percent, roughly 27 million people), it does have a sizeable Shia minority, which accounts for nineteen percent of the population or roughly 6.2 million people.The Hazara, a Persian-speaking ethnic group which is concentrated mainly in central Afghanistan, with major communities present in western Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, constitutes a large portion of Afghanistan’s Shia.The Islamic revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran coincided with the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

Entangled with domestic problems, estrangement with the United States over the hostage crisis, and later the war with Iraq, Khomeini’s regime maintained relations both with the Soviet Union and its satellite regime in Kabul.Incensed at the killing of its citizens and the Taliban’s horrific treatment of Shia minorities, Iran amassed a quarter of a million troops along the border with Afghanistan and threatened to invade.Ultimately, a military confrontation between Iran and the Taliban was averted.Iran and Afghanistan share a 582-mile (936-km) border along a plain in western Afghanistan.The Iranian-Afghan border crosses through several deserts and marshlands.It has sought greater influence over the government in Kabul, and remains wary of the U. The reviewers assert that: “The more stability and development in Afghanistan, the more secure will be Iran’s interests” and express—with confidence—that Iran can “secure its interests in Afghanistan despite foreign competition.” But to better understand Iran’s Afghanistan policy, two recent events are illuminating: o During the winter of 2008-2009, when the lack of electricity became one of the major news stories in Afghan media, and public outrage against the ministry of Water and Power was at its peak, the Iranian Embassy announced selling 25 million liters of oil at cheaper price to Afghanistan to help with Kabul’s electricity supply.(It is worth noting that the minister of Water and Electricity—Ismael Khan—has a history of close ties to Tehran.) o In January 2009—during the same winter Iran forcefully deported over 8000 Afghans in one week in the midst of a cold winter.