The rapid rise to power of the taliban in Afghanistan could end up becoming a real headache for Iran Y Turkey, two heavyweights from the region.
Both countries see it as an opportunity to increase their influence, but neither wants a new massive arrival of refugees, especially in the current context of pandemic.
According to analysts, everything will depend on whether the Taliban adopt a more moderate stance, conducive to international cooperation, or return to the rampant extremism that resulted in their overthrow after the terrorist attacks. 11-S.
“The situation poses a huge risk to Turkey … Iran may also lose if the Taliban go back to their old ways and provide a haven” for Islamist extremists, Asli Aydintasbas, a researcher at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told France Press ( ECFR), reports Afp.
Also, both Iran and Turkey could see a massive influx of refugees, many of whom are seeking to go to Europe. Both are already hosting many refugees – 3.6 million Syrians in Turkey; 3.5 million Afghans in Iran – and the tolerance of their own populations is running out.
Precisely Iran has closed its border with Afghanistan as its situation “stabilizes” after the Taliban have taken over the capital, Kabul, and to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The head of border affairs at the Iranian Interior Ministry, Hossein Ghassemi, has indicated that the security forces have received orders to return immigrants at the border “while the internal situation in Afghanistan stabilizes”, despite the fact that the Government of Iran had promised to temporarily house Afghans fleeing the Taliban , collects Ep.
Critical situation due to the pandemic
For his part, the Iranian Minister of Health, Said Namaki, expressed his fear that a wave of refugees from Afghanistan could worsen the already critical situation of the pandemic in Iran.
“The uncertainty in Afghanistan and the possible arrival of Afghans to Iran could become a danger regarding the COVID-19 pandemic,” insisted Namaki, who expressed concern that the refugees do not comply with the regulations in force due to the disease, according to has reported the Iranian news agency ISNA.
While in Turkey economic growth, which was the basis of the president’s popularity, has slowed Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Last week, Erdogan said he was willing to meet with Taliban leaders to try to achieve peace, while Iran’s new hardline president, Ibrahim Raisi, argued that the US military “defeat” in Afghanistan was an opportunity to bring peace to the country.
On Tuesday, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, spoke of “positive messages” from the Taliban on the protection of civilians and foreigners, and expressed hope that this will be reflected “in their actions” in the future.
However, analysts estimate that the coming to power of the Taliban has deprived Erdogan of a valuable strategic card that he hoped to play, in the hope of improving relations with the US president. Joe Biden: ensure the military security of Kabul airport.
“The entire Turkish mission is in danger, as well as the idea of using the Kabul airport as a lever to rekindle Turkey’s relations with Washington,” explains Asli Aydintasbas, for whom it was “difficult to imagine” that the Taliban would let Turkey control the airport. “A few days ago, it seemed like a golden opportunity for Turkey. Now it is a huge time bomb, “says the researcher.
And “the most pressing issue” for Erdogan is the possible arrival of refugees from Afghanistan, while the presence of Syrians in the country in recent years is already causing a stir.
“USA. has done the heavy lifting »
For Iran, the turmoil in Afghanistan may not be entirely welcome, even if Tehran it has achieved its goal of having US forces leave the region, says Rouzbeh Parsi, head of the Middle East and North Africa program at the Swedish Institute for International Affairs.
“The support of the United States to the Afghan and Iraqi governments has been useful for Iran in the sense that it has provided some stability and the United States has done the heavy lifting,” he estimates.
But Iran, which is overwhelmingly Shiite and shares a border of more than 900 kilometers with Afghanistan, he seems to want to achieve a ‘modus vivendi’ with the Sunni Taliban, he adds.
“Iran, pragmatic as ever, has long accepted that the Taliban are not going to disappear and that no foreigner will be able to defeat them militarily,” he says.
“Iran is a country hard hit by Covid, corruption and a shaky economy. Their capacity and willingness to host more Afghan refugees is probably not great. ‘
For Marc Pierini, visiting researcher at Carnegie Europe and former EU ambassador to Turkey, Europe is nervously observing the possible migratory flows after a million people reached its shores, mainly in 2015, when the Syrian conflict was at its peak. “Addressing this emergency will require humanitarian cooperation and trust between the EU, Iran and Turkey, which will be difficult to achieve,” he tells Afp.