Iranian Involvement in Afghanistan

The central tensions in Iran’s National Security Strategy are expressed by Iran’s involvement in Afghanistan. These tensions may be transformed into policy arenas vis-à-vis the Iranian threat.
In recent years, Iran has tried to widen its influence in the Afghan arena. Iran invests many financial resources in the establishment of schools, mosques and infrastructure projects in Afghanistan. In addition, Iranian involvement is also expressed in its promotion of hurting American forces in Afghanistan which destabilize the country and increase tensions between Iran and Afghanistan.

The Reut Institute identified tensions in Iran's National Security Strategy. These tensions are also expressed in the Afghan arena:

Tension between Iran's need to integrate into the global economy and an international image that deters investments - Iran is interested in integrating into the global economy, and for this purpose it is developing widespread connections directly with Afghanistan, as well as with foreign actors operating in the Afghan market. Iran is developing diverse trade with Afghanistan, including construction and rehabilitation of the water and transport industries, and exports large quantities of raw materials (oil pipeline) via Afghanistan to India and China. In this way, Iran tries to tie itself economically to more and more countries, with the goal of preventing a situation of economic isolation, in light of international sanctions imposed upon it in an effort to stop its nuclear program.

Tension between Iran's aspiration for legitimacy and international status and defiance against regional and world order - Iran aspires to join the list of the world's leading countries. In this framework, Iran acts to tighten connections with neighboring countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as with rising powers like India, China and Russia. The central tool for this purpose is the use of Iranian ‘Soft Power', as a way to recruit countries into the Iranian camp.

Tension between Iran's desire to lead the Islamic world and its involvement in undermining regional stability - Iran aspires to regional hegemony and leadership of the Islamic world. She seeks to achieve this with economic investment, Soft Power, and exporting the revolution. However, in contrast, Iranian support of the Shiite minority in Afghanistan, opposition to a return of Taliban rule, as well as opposition to the American occupation undermines the tense stability of Afghanistan and created resistance to Iran itself.