Friends, enemies, neighbors? The Taliban and the Middle East

DM

Besides boosting the morale of extremist groups who want the US out of the region, this week’s events in Afghanistan could reignite conflict between old neighborhood rivals. A recent editorial in Al-Alam, an Iranian-owned Arabic-language publication, warned people not to trust the Americans the way the Afghan people did. The people of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Libya “link the fate of their countries and their people with America and believe this will open a new door, through which they will enter into a bright and brilliant future. That’s what the Afghans, who were deceived for 20 years, had drummed into them too,” the editorial argued. Although it’s written in Arabic, Al Alam is actually published by the Iranian state — so perhaps it’s not surprising they condemned this week’s messy US withdrawal from Afghanistan so harshly. Iran has long had an adversarial relationship with the US. But the Iranians are not the only ones in the Middle East talking this way about what is happening in Afghanistan as the Islamist militant Taliban group take over.

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