Skip to main content

What are prospects of limited engagement between Iran, US in Afghanistan?

While tensions between Iran and the United States are escalating, their shared interest in Afghanistan’s stability could promote compartmentalized cooperation between the two sides.
Iranian soldiers sit atop their tanks in an Iranian border province next to Afghanistan October 1. Iranian forces staged mock attacks close to the border with Afghanistan in preparation for war-games involving over 200,000 troops. - PBEAHUMFTDH

The administration of US President Donald Trump has in recent months increased its efforts to advance the peace process in Afghanistan. To this end, and for the first time ever, the United States has entered into direct negotiations with the Taliban. Washington has also engaged in more talks with the European coalition and the Afghan government as well as beginning an intensive round of discussions with Pakistan using the carrot and stick approach. In addition to all this, the US State Department has also appointed former US Ambassador to Kabul Zalmay Khalilzad as special envoy to Afghanistan. Khalilzad had a prominent role in the creation of a new political structure in Afghanistan during the 2001 Bonn Conference, following the US invasion of that country and the ousting of the Taliban from power.

Historically, Iran has also been a major party when it comes to war and peace in Afghanistan. The question now is whether Tehran and Washington will engage in a new round of cooperation to advance the Afghan peace process.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.