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

Al-Monitor | : 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.

Iran and the United States share common interests in Afghanistan, and during sensitive periods there has been limited engagement between the two. The beginning of the 21st century was accompanied with the collapse of the Taliban near Iran’s eastern border and the fall of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein on the western border — both of which created important strategic openings for Iran.

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