Afghan-Iranian Military Tensions
By Nick Grace
September 18, 1998
With tensions building on the Afghan-Iranian border, radio monitors should watch for increased clandestine radio activity.
The Taliban, an extremist Sunni Muslim group, now effectively controls Afghanistan, however, calls for help by the Shiite minority and the murder of Iranian diplomats earlier this month has led to a massive mobilization of Iranian troops on the border between the two nations.
What was once the ideological playground of the Cold War has now deteriorated into a dangerous religious quagmire with Muslim Sunnis (the Taliban who are supported by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) pitted against the Shiites, supported by Iran.
Intelligence analysts cited by the Washington Post, CNN and the Chicago Tribune predict that any punitive strikes will be minor. Nevertheless, Iran was an ally of Jamiat-e-Islami - the party that ruled Afghanistan and was defeated by the Taliban just a few years ago. The Jamiat-e-Islami have been waging a civil war with the Taliban since 1994.
Clandestine radio is often used in the wake of military actions in order to maintain psychological pressure, therefore, the probability is high that the Jamiat-e-Islami - which lost its clandestine voice to the Taliban last month when their Takhar Radio came into Taliban possession - will once again return to the airwaves with Iranian aid. Takhar Radio is now broadcasting as the Radio Voice of Shari'a of Takhar Province.