According to Daud Moradian, a former foreign ministry advisor in Afghanistan, Iran spends $100 million a year in the country. A major portion of this assisstance goes to media, civil society projects and religious schools. Reports indicate nearly one third of Afghanistan’s media is either backed by Iran financially or through providing content.
Afghanistan’s intelligence department, National Directorate of Security, had earlier alleged Iran meddling in Afghanistan. According to which, Iran was funding weekly Ensaf, including Tamadon and Noor TV channels. It was further suspected that Iran might also have Afghan MPs on it pay roll, with 40 of the 249 members receiving funding from Iran.
“What Iran wants, what they are striving at, is a power base in Afghanistan that can counter American influence,” said a senior government official. Iran’s’ influence on Afghan media is worrying Washington.
Tehran sees the strategic pact between US and Afghanistan as a threat to regional stability. Iranian-backed media in Afghanistan is propagating reports critical of the agreement. Additionally, Tehran’s ambassador to Afghanistan has threatened to expel one million Afghan refugees if the pact is not rejected.
Some experts think with the withdrawal of coalition forces from Afghanistan by 2014, the situation in the country could become unstable leading to a civil war. This situation will invite further regional and foreign interference and a repeat of the scenario that played out after Soviet withdrawal in the 80s.