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Iran to Use Non-Military Efforts to Defeat Taliban

Representatives from the Iranian government have said that they will not engage in military battles with the Taliban militia, but will instead pursue more "prudent" efforts to stifle the repressive regime.

Iran has accused the Taliban of kipnapping 10 of its diplomats and a journalist during the Taliban's capture of Mazari-i-Sharif last month, during which the Iranian consulate was seized. Many fear that the missing diplomats and journalist were murdered by the Taliban. The Taliban admits to holding dozens of Iranian citizens, but has repeatedly denying retaining the diplomats.

In response to the suspected kidnappings, Iran has struck back with public denouncements of the Taliban and through military exercises conducted near the countries' borders.

Qods, an influential daily newspaper run by a powerful religious foundation in Khorasan province, bordering Afghanistan, called on the Iranian government to openly assist Afghanistan's anti-Taliban Northern Alliance and to initiate negotiations with the Taliban regarding the missing Iranian nationals. The paper asserted that, while direct military attacks were not in Iran's best interest, "There are still political moves we can undertake that will bring about better effects than a war." The paper further urged loosening diplomatic ties with Pakistan, Iran's rival in Afghanistan and a Taliban ally. The paper also proposed strengthening ties with Pakistan's arch-foe, India, as well as with other countries which have opposed the Taliban regime, including Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

Media Resources: AFP - September 7, 1998



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