President of the Supreme National Defence University of Iran General Ahmad Vahidi has warned that the US will attempt to secure safe passage for Daesh terrorists to Afghanistan, the Caucasus and Central Asia, now that the Takfiri terrorist group has been largely defeated in Syria and Iraq. While the Russian Caucasus, including Chechnya have a very effective modern security apparatus which is geared towards the prevention of terrorism, parts of Central Asia are potential soft-spots, specifically in areas where the US has military bases.
However, the place of most concern in respect of a new wave of Daesh terrorism is Afghanistan. In one of the great ironies of recent history, the US continues to fight for a fledgling central government in Kabul that remains genuinely unpopular with many Afghans. As China, Pakistan and Russia have stated, the only hope for peace is to orchestrate an internal dialogue based peace process where moderate elements of the Taliban rebels sit with the government and reach some sort of conflict resolution. By contrast, in 2011, Syria was a county with a strong, popular, functional and non-sectarian government which the US systematically weakened by importing mostly foreign Takfiri terrorists, including Daesh, while calling some of the Takfiri groups “moderate rebels” although none of them were moderate nor were they engaged in an authentic local rebellion.
In reality, the US requires a weak Syria in order to prevent the flourishing of the northern bloc of Middle East allies which includes Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and increasingly also Turkey, in spite of poor relations between Ankara and Damascus. By contrast, the US requires a weak and subservient central government in Afghanistan in order to disrupt China’s One Belt–One Road, particularly where the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is concerned. Furthermore, the US military presence in Afghanistan remains a notable, but ultimately surmountable stumbling bloc for improved relations between Pakistan and Iran.
For Afghanistan itself, the country is trapped in a helpless position–caught between the potentially positive inevitability of an all-party peace process, which is negatively off-set against the fact that moderate elements of the Taliban will not come to the peace table being set by Russia and China until the US vacates the country.
In order to exacerbate this tension, many suspect the US has and will continue to airlift Daesh terrorists from the Levant to Afghanistan. Today’s announcement from Iran merely confirms what many already suspect and what some claim to have documented. Such a scenario not only worsens the security situation in the country, but from the calculating US perspective, it will cause a prolonged three way fight between the government, Taliban (and other local rebels) and Daesh.
The US is also counting on Daesh in Afghanistan causing internal rifts among radical elements of the Taliban. Most importantly, the US could use Afghanistan as a base to send Daesh terrorists into Pakistan’s Balochistan Province where the Chinese built Gwadar port is located. The love affair between the US and India could be used to supply such terrorists with Indian intelligence about Balochistan, as Delhi has long been accused of aiding terrorism against Pakistan in the region. The US could likewise attempt to get Daesh terrorists into Iran, although Iran’s Afghan border is generally more stable than the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which the US has frequently attacked without mercy, in spite of an increasing number of official protests from Islamabad.
It is a potentially gruesome situation where the only solution is for increased unity between Pakistan, Iran, China and Russia. It is in the interests of all four countries to push for both a peace process and a concerted anti-terrorist security presence in Afghanistan, even as the US remains in the country. Such a process will be difficult, but by trying to make a peace as inevitable as the lingering US war, there is a chance that Afghanistan’s two unwelcome ‘guests’, the US and Daesh, might both be kicked out.