Few countries were as helpful to the United States in its early involvement in Afghanistan as Iran. Yet after the fall of the Taliban, the US failed to capitalize on the possibilities of that strategic relationship. Now coalition and Afghan troops are losing ground against the same insurgents they confronted in 2001, in a war that the United States is unlikely to win unless it rethinks its relationship with Iran.
Even before the terrorist acts on Sept. 11, 2001, Iran opposed the Taliban and strongly backed the Afghan Northern Alliance. After the attacks, Tehran stepped forward to help topple Afghanistan’s extremist Sunni government and pledged $560 million for reconstruction efforts.
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