The Hazara make up roughly nine percent of Afghanistan’s population or 2.9 million people. Fifty-eight percent of Iranians or 38.2 million speak Persian, while half of all Afghans or 16.3 million speak one of several dialects of Persian (Dari).
The Turkmen population in Afghanistan is concentrated mainly along the northern border with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
But when a US-led coalition invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to overthrow the Taliban, Iran was not disappointed.
Iran played a key role in Afghanistan’s state-formation and reconstruction process in the immediate aftermath of the Taliban’s ouster.
It has sought greater influence over the government in Kabul, and remains wary of the U. The reviewers assert that: “The more stability and development in Afghanistan, the more secure will be Iran’s interests” and express—with confidence—that Iran can “secure its interests in Afghanistan despite foreign competition.” But to better understand Iran’s Afghanistan policy, two recent events are illuminating: o During the winter of 2008-2009, when the lack of electricity became one of the major news stories in Afghan media, and public outrage against the ministry of Water and Power was at its peak, the Iranian Embassy announced selling 25 million liters of oil at cheaper price to Afghanistan to help with Kabul’s electricity supply.(It is worth noting that the minister of Water and Electricity—Ismael Khan—has a history of close ties to Tehran.) o In January 2009—during the same winter Iran forcefully deported over 8000 Afghans in one week in the midst of a cold winter.
The Kabul based daily Hasht-e-Sobeh (8 AM) observed that the forceful deportations were a part of Iranian policy to illustrate to the U. that Iran can make life hard in Afghanistan, especially, the paper noted, after President Obama did not respond to Mahmud Ahmadinezhad’s letter.
Iran has a population of 66.4 million and it is one of the world’s only Shia-majority states, with Shia Muslims comprising 89 percent of the population or 58.6 million of people.
Iran also has a Sunni Muslim minority, which accounts for nine percent of the population or 5.9 million people.
Tehran’s support for insurgent groups in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, has been a source of great anxiety for the ISAF and Afghan forces struggling to stabilize Afghanistan.The Islamic revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran coincided with the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.Entangled with domestic problems, estrangement with the United States over the hostage crisis, and later the war with Iraq, Khomeini’s regime maintained relations both with the Soviet Union and its satellite regime in Kabul.Although Afghanistan is predominately Sunni Muslim (80 percent, roughly 27 million people), it does have a sizeable Shia minority, which accounts for nineteen percent of the population or roughly 6.2 million people.The Hazara, a Persian-speaking ethnic group which is concentrated mainly in central Afghanistan, with major communities present in western Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, constitutes a large portion of Afghanistan’s Shia.