Skip to comments.The Return Of Pro-Iranian Militia Fighters To Afghanistan Fuels Fears In Kabul, Washington
Posted on 02/07/2020 9:03:39 AM PST by nuconvert
When Syrias civil war erupted, Irans powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) recruited, trained, and deployed thousands of Shiite fighters to prop up the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Among them was the Fatemiyoun Brigade, comprised mainly of Afghans from the country's Shi'ite Hazara minority. From 2011, the IRGC recruited thousands of Afghan migrants and refugees within its own borders and covertly drafted hundreds of Shi'a inside Afghanistan.
The majority of Muslims in Afghanistan are Sunni, but around 15 percent of its population -- mainly Hazara -- are Shia with religious links to the Shi'ite majority in Iran.
With the Syrian war ebbing, several thousand Fatemiyoun fighters have returned to their homeland, prompting fears that Iran could mobilize the proxy group to target U.S. interests in neighboring Afghanistan, where some 13,000 American troops are stationed.
We should certainly be concerned about the risk of Iran using this asset in Afghanistan to go after U.S. troops or other American interests in the country, said Michael Kugelman, South Asia associate at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.
Let's be clear: At least right now, there are more than 10,000 American soldiers across Iran's eastern border. That's a tempting target, and these [Shi'ite] fighters in Afghanistan give Tehran a potentially useful proxy to go after those troops, he added.
Rahmatullah Nabil, the two-time head of Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS), the countrys main intelligence agency, estimated that between 2,500 to 3,000 Fatemiyoun fighters have returned to Afghanistan.
At this stage it seems they are not in a position to pose an immediate threat to Afghanistans national security, said Nabil, who was intelligence chief from 2010-12 and 2013-15. They are not organized but scattered in different parts of the country.
(Excerpt) Read more at rferl.org ...
Get the hell out of there.
We are never going to drag them out of the 7th century.
“Alefoneh said it was plausible that Iran was deploying Fatemiyoun members to Afghanistan as part of Tehran’s two-prong attempt to prepare for a U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
On the one hand, Tehran has normalized relations with the Taliban, which in Tehran’s analysis will seize power in Kabul before long, he said. On the other hand, Tehran is preparing for a scenario in which the Taliban once again turns against Iran in the future.”
Unfortunately, Afghanistan will end just the way Vietnam did: helicopters taking off from the roof of the US embassy as insurgents pour into the capital.
And its all on George W. Bush.
Marine General Frank McKenzie, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East, said there has been an increase in Iranian activity in Afghanistan that poses a risk to American troops.
McKenzie, who visited Afghanistan last week, said he was seeing a worrisome trend of Iranian malign interference.
Iran has always sort of dabbled a little bit in Afghanistan, but they see perhaps an opportunity to get after us and the coalition here through their proxies, McKenzie said. So we are very concerned about that here as we go forward.
Ismail Qaani, who in January succeeded Soleimani as head of Irans elite Quds Force, the overseas operations arm of the IRGC, has a long history with Afghanistan””
“When the Syrian civil war erupted, Qaani is believed to have been personally involved in the organization of the Fatemiyoun Brigade. It included veterans of the Abuzar Brigade, an Afghan militia consisting of Shia who had fought on Irans side in the war against Iraq.”
Based on this account, I suspect these Hazaras are probably glad to get off the line and return home, with whatever portions of their incomes they have stashed away.
The Afghans are promised Iranian citizenship and salaries of $500$800 per month in return for fighting (usually a 3-month-long deployment to Syria). Many are illegal immigrants/refugees and/or criminals who choose recruitment over imprisonment or deportation, though the Iranian government generally claims that they are religiously motivated volunteers. Iranian media has claimed that the Iranian military provides Liwa Fatemiyoun fighters and their IRGC officers with Hashish to raise their morale.
Though some Afghan sub-commanders of Liwa Fatemiyoun are veterans of several wars, including the IranIraq War and the Afghan Civil War (19962001), new recruits of the unit generally lack combat experience. The recruits are given just a few weeks of training, armed, and flown to Syria via the IraqSyriaIran air bridge. These soldiers are used as shock troopers, spearheading numerous important pro-government offensives alongside Iranian, Iraqi, and Hezbollah troops. Most of them operate as light infantry, although some receive more thorough training and can work as tank crews. Parts of Liwa Fatemiyoun have been trained by the Russian Armed Forces. As the unit is often used in those war zones where the most intense fighting takes place despite its sometimes inadequate training, observers believe that Liwa Fatemiyoun fighters often act as “cannon fodder”. ]
[Ismail Qaani, who in January succeeded Soleimani as head of Irans elite Quds Force, the overseas operations arm of the IRGC, has a long history with Afghanistan
When the Syrian civil war erupted, Qaani is believed to have been personally involved in the organization of the Fatemiyoun Brigade. It included veterans of the Abuzar Brigade, an Afghan militia consisting of Shia who had fought on Irans side in the war against Iraq.]
Drone 'em by the handful!
Thanks for that post
Drone ‘em by the handful!
That’s the ticket!!!!!
[Thanks for that post]
During the course of my extensive fieldwork in the Taliban-infested Pashtun lands, where I came to admire the courage of the Hazara soldiers serving alongside US troops, I became overwhelmed by the mindless and often random horror of the war. After arriving at the scene of particularly gruesome suicide bombing of civilian men, women, and children in the eastern town of Gardez, I got permission to leave the killing behind for a while and decompress in the sheltering peaks of the Hindu Kush. There, in the snowy mountain-ringed Hazara capital of Bamiyan, I found panagah, sanctuary, and a welcoming people governed by Afghanistans only female governor. In those terraced, clay-walled mountain villages clinging to the side of steep, misty valleys, I also found widespread gratitude to the Americans for their role in liberating the Hazaras lands. Theirs was a relatively peaceful world that was so far removed from the war ravaging the hot Pashtun lowlands to the southeast that I imagined it to be an Afghan Shangri La. While there were signs of the Talibans cruel rule over this people that had seen them literally skin Hazaras alive and rape and burn, such as the crumbled ruins of the magnificent 6th century Buddhas of Bamiyan that had been blown up by the Taliban iconoclasts as heathen idols in 2000, this mountainous realm was relatively peaceful, welcoming and safe. ]
We should have been out by the end of 2003, Ive come to realize. A punitive campaign and out, no nation building ridiculousness..
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