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Pentagon Says Policies Of Iran, Pakistan Destabilize Afghan Security

Pakistani Islamist activist shout anti-Indian slogans during a demonstration in Karachi on October. (file photo)

The Pentagon’s latest assessment on security in Afghanistan has strongly criticized Pakistan and Iran, saying they are destabilizing regional security.

The assessment says Pakistan is continuing to use militants as proxy forces in Afghanistan and in India in order to hedge against Islamabad’s loss of influence in Afghanistan and to counter India’s superior military.

It says such militant groups “continue to act as the primary irritant in Afghan-Pakistan” relations.

The Pentagon says Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp -- the Qods Force -- “provides calibrated lethal aid to the Taliban” in a bid to speed the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan.

At the same time, it says Tehran is focused on maintaining friendly relations with Afghanistan’s government and preventing a return to power by the Taliban.

It says Iran’s strategy includes a “soft-power campaign to promote a pro-Iranian and pro-Shi'a sentiment” in Afghanistan through a $1 billion aid and development program.