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Unpacking the Relationship Between Tehran and the Taliban

AFGHANISTAN -- Afghan civilians carrying Afghan national flag along with Taliban flag stand with Taliban fighters and army soldiers to celebrate a three-day ceasefire on second day of Eid al-Fitr, in the outskirt of Kabul, June 16, 2018

In recent days, news emerged that a delegation of Afghan Taliban representatives met with Iranian government officials in Tehran at the end of December. The revelation brought to light a longstanding but rarely publicized relationship between Shia Iran and the Taliban, a Sunni militant organization.

What is the nature of the ties between Tehran and the Taliban, what was the significance of the meeting in Tehran, and what implications does the meeting and Tehran-Taliban relations more broadly have for potential peace talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan?

These questions and more are discussed in the latest episode of the AfPak File, a joint podcast of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Wilson Center.

The expert panelists are Ahmad Khalid Majidyar, director of the IranObserved project at the Middle East Institute; Ariane Tabatabai, associate political scientist at the Rand Corporation; Abdul Hameed Mohmand, Kabul Bureau Chief for Radio Azadi; and Michael Kugelman, Asia Program deputy director and senior associate for South Asia at the Wilson Center.

Muhammad Tahir, RFE/RL’s Media Relations Manager moderated the discussion.

The views expressed in this podcast do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

The AfPak File is a joint podcast of RFE/RL and The Wilson Center bringing audiences analysis on Afghanistan and Pakistan.