Are Afghans Loyal to Iran?
If you live in western Iran, along the border areas or Herat, chance are they are. Iranian support has been coming via the Iman Khoemeini Relief Committee, or IKRC. It is a stellar operation to win the hearts and minds and loyalty of Afghans in need. But Iran is more. It actually supplies the city of Herat with electricity, an hour from the border. While most Afghans are Sunni, there is a large Shiite population that support Iran. But, to get the free aid, Afghans must be loyal to Iran and prove it by providing any intelligence to them.
The Iranian aid ranges from building houses, monthly stipends of fuel or food, and vocational courses. Afghans have received money for a variety of reasons or kitchen and furniture. Iranian aid has even paid for marriages but only to those proven to be loyal. Iran has built libraries, schools, clinics in Herat, not the Americans. In the library, girls can attend English classes and all can access a computer. The head librarian asks, "why doesn't America provide this aid?" Iran is indeed winning over the Afghans in the west part of the country far away from Kabul. Of course, the library does promote Iranian culture. Iran funds many media outlets and the price is to support Iranian policy. Even in Kabul, Iran tried to influence its four TV stations and three newspapers. That failed after key Iranians were arrested as spies. Of course, America does the same to promote American policy. Many Afghans in Herat favor Iran because many want to work there and need a visa, they cannot get one unless they show they are loyal to Iran.
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