Iran’s Growing Influence in Afghanistan

Last month, it was revealed that Iran has been bribing Afghan officials in order to increase loyalty to Iran within the Afghani government. According to Radio Free Europe, Iran is building loyalty in more subtle ways as well, by discreetly spreading its ideology through the Khatam al-Nabyeen Islamic University in Kabul.

The university was founded by Grand Ayatollah Mohseni, who received his religious training in Iran and is rumored to have received millions of dollars in Iranian funding. Mohseni, a controversial figure known for his harsh stance on women’s rights, says he got his money from many countries, and from his followers.

Khatam al-Nabyeen is not openly funded by Iran. Instead, Iran provides most of the school’s books, and many of the school’s teachers are Iranian-trained.

Experts told Radio Free Europe that the books and lessons in the Islamic University of Kabul are nearly identical to those in radical Shiite Muslim schools in Iran. The university takes villagers from around the country and makes them “ready to die for [Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah] Khamenei and for his ideas,” said Iran expert Alireza Nourizadeh.

In October, the New York Times reported that Iran has been giving millions of dollars to Afghani Chief of Staff Umar Daudzai in a scheme to promote a pro-Iran, anti-American line within the government.

Sources told the paper that Iran is funding both Afghani officials and the rebel Taliban. The latter group was offered money in order to keep Western coalition troops bogged down with incessant fighting, they said.

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, attacked the United States’ presence in Afghanistan in a speech in Kabul several months ago. “Your country is located on the other side of the world, so what are you doing here?” he demanded. Ahmadinejad called on Muslim countries to help Afghanistan without Western involvement.


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