By Isa Cox August 28, 2021 at 4:33pm
As we watch the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in real time, it’s pretty sickening to know that the new regime will be aided by the veritable war chest left behind by the U.S. military.
The roughly 40 aircraft and 2,000 armored vehicles are a boon for the Taliban’s ragtag forces — and the situation is panning out quite nicely for Afghanistan’s neighbor Iran as well.
The Taliban and Iran, you see, are both stifled by international trade sanctions thanks to their full-throated commitment to terroristic rule.
The Taliban, which now has access to Afghanistan’s lucrative heroin industry, has realized it will need fuel for its shiny new vehicles.
And Iran’s got plenty of that.
A wholly unholy alliance has been born.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Iran has resumed fuel exports to Afghanistan, threatening to undermine the potency of U.S. sanctions against both regimes.
As if the Biden administration had much left to lose — the president has already strongly signaled a desire to return to the one-sided Iran nuclear deal and has virtually handed the Taliban everything it’s demanded on a silver platter.
“The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan has cut the country off from the foreign financing that has kept the country afloat,” the Journal explained.
Is the Taliban-Iran partnership dangerous to the rest of the world?
But there’s still $5 million worth of petroleum products crossing the Afghanistan border every day, according to officials and traders.
All those American vehicles need a steady supply of fuel, after all, and Iran is more than happy to oblige.
“It is an important sort of lifeline for Afghanistan and, historically, a supply of dollars to Iran,” Rachel Ziemba, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, told the outlet of the trade partnership.
Although Afghanistan has been cut off from U.S. dollars, traders expect that this will be offset by the country’s booming heroin sales.
“The U.N. Security Council, which oversees sanctions on the Taliban and the country’s Islamic State affiliate, estimates taxation of drug trafficking could amount to a quarter of the Taliban’s annual combined revenue of as much as $1.6 billion a year,” the Journal noted.
It’s a perfect storm — that is, a perfect opportunity for the Islamist regimes. They’re now even less likely to reform their ways for the sake of trade with the West.
The U.S. may finally be winding down its longest war, but there’s no doubt that the Taliban has emerged from the quagmire as the victor.
And now, the spoils are being shared with an adversarial and dangerous nation.