Saudi views Kabul as theater in its competition with Iran

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The United States Department of Defense or Pentagon has said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia likely views Afghanistan as a theater in its competition with Iran.

“Afghanistan prioritizes Saudi Arabia’s religious credibility and political support over seeking material support from Saudi Arabia,” Pentagon said in its latest report.

The report further adds particularly, Afghanistan seeks greater recognition of fatwas and statements by the Grand Mufti condemning terrorists and ISIS-K as “incompatible with Islamic values.”

However, Pentagon says Saudi Arabia historically has not provided material or fiscal support to Afghanistan, despite Afghanistan’s entry into the Saudi-led Counter Terrorism Coalition. “Saudi Arabia likely views Afghanistan as a theater in its competition with Iran,” the report concludes.

In the meantime, Pentagon says “Iran and the United States share certain interests in Afghanistan such as counternarcotics. However, Iran seeks to expand its influence and limit US influence and military presence, particularly in western Afghanistan.”

According to Pentagon, Iran’s desire for influence in Afghanistan remains strong. Iran seeks increased influence in Afghanistan through government partnerships, bilateral trade, and cultural and religious ties.

The report also adds that Iran provides some support to the Taliban and publicly justifies its relationship with the Taliban as a means to combat the spread of ISIS-K in Afghanistan.

“Iran’s support to the Taliban undermines the Afghan Government’s credibility, adds to instability in the region, and complicates strategic partnership agreements,” Pentagon warns.