… from Press TV, Tehran
[ Editor’s Note: My, my…color me surprised. I would have lost a $20 bet with Gordon that I would have been reading this Pentagon story below as a post-Christmas present on how Iran has been a stabilizing force for peace in the Afghan-Taliban struggle.
Also, the timing of this report coming out, just as Trump has announced a draw down on US troops there is surprising. We are used to the Pentagon puffing up all so-called threats to keep their funding machine well oiled – a situation that had been in place long before Trump came along.
So here we are with a Pentagon report that somewhat undermines (somewhat because it deals with Afghanistan only) the Trump, NeoCon, and Pentagon positions that both China and Russian are active offensive threats, when many trained observers would say that Russia and China are trying to reach parity with a US that has openly said it wants to rule the world as king of the hill militarily.
Another approach for anyone truly concerned about their “threat” would be to revive, renew, upgrade the older arms control agreements to protect us from what is going on now, as we are the side with the huge advantage demanding that any encroachment upon it is aggression.
The US is in effect claiming a divine right to be the uber economic and military power in the world, as such is in its national interests, and thus it will use any and all tools available.
That stance gives all other countries the right to do that same, to defend themselves to the best of their ability; and to call them aggressive for doing so is an insult to the intelligence of the American people.
All that said, Trump did push the Mueller news off the front page, and we have seen no real howling over the government shutdown so far. The stock markets are on a roller coaster, with Trump ready to blame everyone but himself for that reality.
The New Year is looking like it will be quite a kickoff for the 2020 elections, which will be a dog fight, with Trump fighting to get reelected so he can run out the statute of limitations on any of his pre-election Mueller charges… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … December 27, 2018 –
The Pentagon has acknowledged Iran’s key role in restoring peace and stability to war-torn Afghanistan, backtracking on Washington’s earlier claims that Tehran supports the local Taliban militant group.
“Iran seeks a stable Afghan government that is responsive to Iranian goals, the elimination of ISIS-K, the removal of the US/NATO presence, and the protection of Iranian concerns, such as water rights and border security,” the US Department of Defense said in a report sent to Congress this week.
The Pentagon also admitted Iran’s influence in Afghanistan, saying that Tehran pursues “a multitrack strategy” of engaging with the Afghan government and seeks to boost bilateral economic ties with Kabul.
“Iranian involvement is most prominent in western, central, and northern Afghanistan, where local Afghans share common history, culture, religion, and language with Iran,” according to the report.
The report comes as Iran has announced it is engaged in negotiations with the Afghan Taliban to help settle the existing security challenges facing the neighboring country.
Tehran’s announcement came after US President Donald Trump had ordered a withdrawal of nearly half of the American forces stationed in Afghanistan, more than 17 years after Washington and its allies invaded Afghanistan.
The invasion overthrew the Taliban regime. But US forces have remained bogged down there through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and now Trump.
Taliban militants have warned that they will be stepping up their attacks until the US forces fully withdraw from Afghanistan after more than a decade and half of occupation.
Meanwhile, the Daesh terror group has also taken advantage of the chaos to establish a foothold in Afghanistan, further complicating the Afghan government’s efforts to uproot terrorism.
During a visit to Afghanistan on Wednesday, Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), said Tehran had been holding a series of talks with the Taliban group “with the knowledge of the Afghan government” and would continue to do so in the future.
Shamkhani made the comments during a meeting with Hamdullah Mohib, the Afghan president’s national security adviser in the capital Kabul.
Accompanied by a number of high-ranking security, military and political officials, Shamkhani paid a one-day visit to Afghanistan, where he met with senior Afghan officials, including President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and former president Hamid Karzai.
In an address to the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan last month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the international community to facilitate “inclusive” dialog between the Afghan Taliban and the government in a bid to restore peace to the conflict-plagued country.