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Amid escalating U.S.-Iran tensions, Afghans fear getting ensnared

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  • Amid escalating U.S.-Iran tensions, Afghans fear getting ensnared

    Amid escalating U.S.-Iran tensions, Afghans fear getting ensnared.

    Kabul maintains close ties with both; Qods Force used Afghan fighters in its anti-IS battle

    The assassination of Qassem Soleimani has had reverberations across the border in Afghanistan, a country that holds close ties to Iran.
    A haven for fleeing Hazara Shias


    Millions of Afghans sought refugee in Iran at the height of the Afghan war, and the U.S.’s arch-rival also remains one of the largest hosts to displaced Afghans, the majority of whom are from the Hazara Shia minority. This dynamic is further complicated by the fact that many Afghan refugees have been recruited into the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Qods Force to fight as foot soldiers in Syria. Over 20,000 Afghans were drafted into the Fatemiyoun division of the Qods Force and deployed in Syria.

    Soleimani, who commanded the Qods Force, was responsible for strategising the recruitment using a combination of financial incentives, coercion and ideological motivators. “In the last five years that I have followed the issue, I have seen Soleimani meet with commanders and fighters on the front-line. He met families of fallen Fatemiyoun...,” remarked a senior Afghan analyst. On the other hand, Soleimani’s replacement, Esmail Qa’ani, hasn’t really had much of a public profile, he said. “I don’t ever remember Qa’ani in any of those photos. Also, I haven’t seen him mentioned in any of the Fatemiyoun propaganda reports, which are replete with mentions of Soleimani,” he pointed out.

    According to the analyst, Qa’ani is a more cautious operator, and prefers to stay in the shadows. “You can tell this is true by looking at his history in Afghanistan: He has visited the country and met with Governors, but few people noticed it,” he said.

    However, despite the discreet nature of Qa’ani’s personality, his appointment raised concerns among Afghans. Photos have surfaced on social media showing Qa’ani in the central province of Bamiyan, and another of him inspecting maps of the Salma Dam. However, the Afghan analyst dismissed these concerns. Salma Dam, located in western province of Herat that shares a border with Iran, was rebuilt by the Indian government in 2017. The dam reduced Afghanistan’s power dependency on neighbouring countries and also irrigates 75,000 hectares of land. However, the project in effect cut down the downstream flow of Harirud river into Iran, causing discontentment and concern.
    https://www.thehindu.com/news/intern...?homepage=true

  • #2


    The Fatemiyoun was founded by leaders of two Afghan Shiite militant groups: Sepah-e Muhammad (Muhammad Army), an Iran-backed group that operated against the Taliban in Afghanistan in the 1990s, and the Abuzar Brigade, which fought alongside Iranian military forces against Iraq in the 1980s. According to Iranian military sources, more than 2,000 Afghans perished during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. The founder of Fatemiyoun, Alireza Tavasoli, was a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war and was a close confidante of Suleimani; when Tavasoli was killed in Syria, Soleimani visited his family to pay tribute. Over the past six years, the IRGC has recruited, indoctrinated, trained and deployed thousands of Afghan Shiites to fight under its command against Sunni rebel groups across Syria. The Fatemiyoun Division has about 20,000 active fighters, according to accounts provided by Iranian officials.

    Interviews with Fatemiyoun militants with the Afghan media demonstrate that the IRGC recruits destitute and undocumented Afghan refugees by offering them permanent residency, financial aid, and other incentives for their families. Others say they joined Iran’s war in Syria to escape prison sentences. Of some 2.5 million Afghans living in Iran, a third are registered as refugees while the remainder are mostly illegal economic migrants.

    However, as Hosseini’s family profile demonstrates, not all Afghan Shiites fight in Syria for money or legal status. Many also go to Syria for ideological, religious and political reasons. The profiles of senior Fatemiyoun commanders show that they are neither poor nor illegal migrants. Many are born in Iran, studied in religious seminaries in Qom, and have had long-standing ties with the IRGC and the Basij Force.




    https://www.mei.edu/publications/ira...di-arabia-next

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    • #3
      Interesting, thanks for sharing!

      Comment


      • #4
        YAKAWLANG, Afghanistan — Iran has trained and deployed thousands of Shiite Afghans as shock troops in Syria’s sectarian war. Members of the Afghan unit, the Fatemiyoun Division, wear a shoulder patch recounting words of praise from Iran’s supreme leader as a badge of honor.

        What those fighters might do when they come home is now very much on the minds of officials who fear that Afghanistan may become the next great sectarian battleground between Iran, as the declared guardian of Shiites, and Saudi Arabia, long the sponsor of conservative Sunni doctrine around the world.

        “This is quite dangerous: What happens to this Fatemiyoun force when the war in Syria is over?” said Rahmatullah Nabil, a former Afghan intelligence chief. “The fear is that rivalry in the region, between Iran and Saudi, will shift to Afghanistan. And I think that clash is already shifting here.”

        Fatemiyoun is a new culture — a collection of brave men who do not see boundaries and borders in defending Islamic values,” General Qaani said, as quoted in the local Iranian media.

        The war in Yemen is one indication of how Afghans are already being drawn deeper into the Iranian-Saudi rivalry, on both sides. Not only did Iran send smaller units of the Fatemiyoun to cross Syrian borders and fight in Yemen, but at least 1,000 Sunni Afghan refugees from camps in Pakistan have also been recruited to fight on Saudi Arabia’s behalf in Yemen, according to three senior Afghan officials.

        The core of what is now the Fatemiyoun Division included fighters from Shiite militias that had Iranian support during the Afghan civil war. Some even went to Iraq to fight on behalf of Iran against Saddam Hussein, or to Lebanon to oppose the Israeli invasion.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/11/w...ry-guards.html

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        • #5
          Too many volunteers for.

          Saudi, Pakistani,

          Pakistani, Turkey, China.

          Iranian, Russian.

          Backed groups.

          Hopefully this is contained properly

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by OttoHarkaman View Post
            Interesting, thanks for sharing!
            You are welcome Sir.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by vikram72 View Post
              YAKAWLANG, Afghanistan — Iran has trained and deployed thousands of Shiite Afghans as shock troops in Syria’s sectarian war. Members of the Afghan unit, the Fatemiyoun Division, wear a shoulder patch recounting words of praise from Iran’s supreme leader as a badge of honor.

              What those fighters might do when they come home is now very much on the minds of officials who fear that Afghanistan may become the next great sectarian battleground between Iran, as the declared guardian of Shiites, and Saudi Arabia, long the sponsor of conservative Sunni doctrine around the world.

              “This is quite dangerous: What happens to this Fatemiyoun force when the war in Syria is over?” said Rahmatullah Nabil, a former Afghan intelligence chief. “The fear is that rivalry in the region, between Iran and Saudi, will shift to Afghanistan. And I think that clash is already shifting here.”

              Fatemiyoun is a new culture — a collection of brave men who do not see boundaries and borders in defending Islamic values,” General Qaani said, as quoted in the local Iranian media.

              The war in Yemen is one indication of how Afghans are already being drawn deeper into the Iranian-Saudi rivalry, on both sides. Not only did Iran send smaller units of the Fatemiyoun to cross Syrian borders and fight in Yemen, but at least 1,000 Sunni Afghan refugees from camps in Pakistan have also been recruited to fight on Saudi Arabia’s behalf in Yemen, according to three senior Afghan officials.

              The core of what is now the Fatemiyoun Division included fighters from Shiite militias that had Iranian support during the Afghan civil war. Some even went to Iraq to fight on behalf of Iran against Saddam Hussein, or to Lebanon to oppose the Israeli invasion.

              https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/11/w...ry-guards.html
              How was the Fatemiyoun going to Syria and Yemen ,to Iraq and Libanon ?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ljadw View Post

                How was the Fatemiyoun going to Syria and Yemen ,to Iraq and Libanon ?


                Through the land Bridge, (route ) Iran has created in Iraq and Syria. Few Fatemiyoun Fighters we pictured near border with Israel. It is widely shared video also shared by Israel media also.

                On the other hand few hundreds, Sunni Afghan are being trained by ISI / Pakistan Army in Pakistan to go and Fight on behalf of Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The Fatemiyoun, an Iranian-backed military force that has fought in Syria since 2013, is estimated to number in the thousands and draws its membership primarily from Shia Afghan communities in Iran and Afghanistan. The Fatemiyoun Division is an IRGC-QF-led militia that recruits from the millions of undocumented Afghan migrants and refugees in Iran, coercing them to fight in Syria under threat of arrest or deportation. Several hundred Fatemiyoun Division fighters, including children as young as 14 years old, have died fighting Iran’s war in Syria, and the bodies of slain Afghan fighters have been flown back to Iran on board Mahan Air flights from Syria.

                  Its main mission is to defend the sacred sites of Muslims and its secondary mission to fight oppression around the world. On May 22, 2013, this group came to the Syrian Zinabeeh with 22 people and announced itself as the Arab Fatemian (Fatahian) Lashkar. The founder of this group, Alireza Tavasoli, is known as Abu Hamed, was killed on July 9, 2014 in the Tel-e-Qing area near the Palestinian territories by an Israeli drone missile (such a terrorist tactic was used by Israeli commanders for Hezbollah commanders many times). After Abu Hamed, no other Afghan commander was selected for this division. Statistics from Afghan soldiers killed and wounded in the Syria war New reports released by the media show that more than 2,000 Afghans were killed and more than 8,000 injured in the Syrian war.

                  https://www.globalsecurity.org/milit...fatemiyoun.htm

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Fatemiyoun has mainly recruited to defend Holy Shia sites, which were being destroyed by ISIS.

                    In India there was great discontent among our Shia population, when ISIS was destroying Shia Holy sites in Syria, Iraq.

                    Our Government was able to stop our Shia citizens to go and Fight against ISIS.

                    Only few medical workers and others in strictly non combatant role were allowed to go.

                    new concerns have emerged as India’s largest Shia organization began to recruit volunteers to defend Shia holy shrines in Iraq that may soon fall into the hands of ISIS. It is estimated that nearly 30,000 Indian Shia Muslims have already signed up to fight and applied for visas to fly into Iraq.

                    Various Indian Shia Muslim organizations are hoping that recruitment can build a force strong enough to defend the holy shrines against ISIS, as there are more than 50 million Shia Muslims in India led by those closely tied to Iran and Iraq.

                    India’s Shias said they would not stand by while Karbala is attacked again. Their recruits include bankers, students, doctors and engineers and their leaders have written to the Indian government to stress Isis’ support for terrorist attacks in India too.

                    “We have nearly 30,000 volunteers who have filled in the forms and given their passports and are ready to go any moment. Another hundred thousand have got in touch with us and have pledged their support. We are looking at a million volunteers to form a human chain around the holy shrines of Karbala and Najaf, in case the Isis attacks. We will do everything to stop the advance of the enemies”, said Syed Bilal, spokesman of Anjuman-e-Haideri which protects Delhi’s own ‘Karbala’ shrine.
                    https://www.iraqinews.com/arab-world...a-shrines/amp/

                    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wor...oly-sites.html

                    That was in 2014.

                    Same time Iran Raised Fatemiyoun Division from Shia Afghans.


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