It has sought greater influence over the government in Kabul, and remains wary of the U. The reviewers assert that: “The more stability and development in Afghanistan, the more secure will be Iran’s interests” and express—with confidence—that Iran can “secure its interests in Afghanistan despite foreign competition.” But to better understand Iran’s Afghanistan policy, two recent events are illuminating: o During the winter of 2008-2009, when the lack of electricity became one of the major news stories in Afghan media, and public outrage against the ministry of Water and Power was at its peak, the Iranian Embassy announced selling 25 million liters of oil at cheaper price to Afghanistan to help with Kabul’s electricity supply.(It is worth noting that the minister of Water and Electricity—Ismael Khan—has a history of close ties to Tehran.) o In January 2009—during the same winter Iran forcefully deported over 8000 Afghans in one week in the midst of a cold winter.
The Kabul based daily Hasht-e-Sobeh (8 AM) observed that the forceful deportations were a part of Iranian policy to illustrate to the U. that Iran can make life hard in Afghanistan, especially, the paper noted, after President Obama did not respond to Mahmud Ahmadinezhad’s letter.
Thus, Tehran supported the formation of an anti-Taliban coalition composed of mostly Tajik, Uzbek, and Hazara factions—including Hezb-e Wahdat.
This United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan, also known as the Northern Alliance, was led by deposed ethnic Tajik President Burhanuddin Rabbani and his military commander Ahmad Shah Massoud.
Over sixty percent of Afghans are under the age of 25.
In Iran, more than half of the population is under the age of 25.
Although Afghanistan is predominately Sunni Muslim (80 percent, roughly 27 million people), it does have a sizeable Shia minority, which accounts for nineteen percent of the population or roughly 6.2 million people.
The Hazara, a Persian-speaking ethnic group which is concentrated mainly in central Afghanistan, with major communities present in western Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, constitutes a large portion of Afghanistan’s Shia.
Iran, along with Russia, provided arms and funding to the Northern Alliance throughout the civil war, while Pakistan and Saudi Arabia supported the Taliban.
Iran and Afghanistan share a 582-mile (936-km) border along a plain in western Afghanistan.
The Iranian-Afghan border crosses through several deserts and marshlands.
The Baluch are another ethnic group that lives in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.
The Baluch constitute two percent of the Iranian population or roughly 1.3 million people.