The Pakistan government is asking Iran to assume a greater role in establishing conditions of peace in Afghanistan. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, said Iran was an “important regional player” and urged the Iranian government to participate in upcoming international meetings to deal with the escalating violence in the Afghan region. The request is interesting but many experts actually wonder what type of influence the Iranian government can exert on Afghanistan where al-Qaida and the Taliban are Sunni Muslims and the Iranians are Shiite. Ironically, in 2001, the Iranian government reached out to President Bush and offered to assist the US effort in Afghanistan which was getting rid of one of its main enemies– the Taliban. But, Bush turned down the offer and the world is living with another of the Bush legacies of disaster.
We suggest that Turkey might be a more natural source of serving as a mediator than Shiite Iran. Turkey could exert leverage in being a source of financial aid to the Afghan people that would be welcomed since it would be coming from Muslims who could be trusted. It has yet to be established by any government or expert on the region how Iran could or would play a mediating role in the Afghanistan mess.