Citing Sputnik Afghanistan, Krasnaya Vesna news agency reports anti-Taliban National Resistance Front leader Ahmad Massoud has visited Iran.

On November 6, he reportedly held a meeting in Mashhad with ex-governor of Afghanistan’s Herat Province Ismail Khan (currently in exile there) as part of attempts to strengthen the Afghan opposition. 

Ex-governor of Herat province Ismail Khan

During the meeting with Ismali Khan, Ahmad Massoud reportedly said that Tajik President Emomali Rahmon should provide assistance with the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan.  

Meanwhile, a website of an Indian English-language business-focused daily newspaper, The Economic Times, says that as per a report by Afghan news agency Rahapress, Ahmad Massoud carried a message of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon to push for an inclusive government in Kabul. 

Recall, the Tajik President, an ally of Russia, has been among the strongest critics of the Taliban for its failure to form an inclusive regime and control terrorism.  In September, Rahmon had conferred Tajikistan's highest honor on Ahmad Massoud's father Ahmad Shah Massoud.

Dushanbe’s opposition to the Taliban is not new.  Throughout the years, it has repeatedly chastised the Taliban for terrorist activities and mistreatment of ethnic Tajiks.  Alongside Russia, Tajikistan previously supported the Northern Alliance to fight against the Taliban.  Dushanbe’s main security concerns stem from sharing a border of over 1,400 kilometers with Afghanistan.  While major checkpoints are secure, smaller outposts are harder to watch and manage, resulting in relative porosity which has allowed illegal drug trade to thrive and fighters to find shelter on both sides.  Russia and the United States have been assisting the Tajik government in strengthening border forces to better tackle security threats.

Furthermore, Dushanbe fears that if the Taliban succeeds in building an Islamist government, radicalism will proliferate in the region. Since independence, Tajikistan has maintained that radical Islam constitutes a threat to its national security.

Some international experts consider that Tajikistan may be forced to change course soon if the surrounding nations apply pressure.  Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, the other two Central Asia’s nations bordering Afghanistan, are adopting different stances. 

Taliban’s spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid

Meanwhile, Radio Ozodi reported on November 6 that Taliban’s spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told Radio Liberty’s Afghan Service in an interview that the Taliban