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    Default Iran & USA allies in Afghanistan:stranger than reality

    Moderator's Note

    I have merged two related threads into this and changed the title from 'Iran, US Share Afghan Goals' to 'Iran & USA allies in Afghanistan:stranger than reality'

    4 May Christian Science Monitor - Iran, US Share Afghan Goals.

    The smooth blacktop roads and 24-hour electricity of Herat set this Afghan commercial capital apart as a model of stability in a country still struggling to get on its feet. Much of the wealth in this western city, with its tree-lined streets and handsome shops, is credited to the largesse of Iran.

    The Shiite republic, one of Afghanistan's greatest trading partners, has a visible hand here, building roads and schools, and keeping shops afloat with electricity and goods. What's more, these projects represent only a fraction of the $204 million Iran has spent in aid, ranking it among the top donors to post-conflict Afghanistan.

    Even though the US and Iran are locked in an international struggle over Iran's alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons, the long-time foes have worked together well in Afghanistan, a place where they have common ground. Pushing Iran against the wall through sanctions or war could deal a setback to the recovery here, the first battlefield in the war on terror, some observers say.

    "The disagreements we have with the international community do not have a place in Afghanistan," says Mohammad Reza Bahrami, Iran's Ambassador to Afghanistan. "Our understanding for Afghanistan is that it can be a good model for cooperation among the international community."

    Iranian influence is certainly nothing new in Afghanistan. The two countries share centuries of history, thousands of miles of porous borders, and a common language. Nearly 2,000 people commute across the border every day.

    But as tensions rise between Tehran and Washington, some speculate that Iran could use its leverage in Afghanistan to cause problems for the US.

    "They do have the capacity to cause trouble here. If they were to perceive that the government is siding with the West ... or they felt that the US military based in Afghanistan could be damaging to the internal situation in Iran ... we could expect problems here," cautioned one Western diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the issue...
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-25-2012 at 11:04 AM. Reason: Add mod's Note

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