The United States has placed numerous bureaucratic obstacles in the way of Afghans seeking asylum in the United States. Even the lucky few who have made it to the United States have only been offered temporary refuge, and many now face being returned to Afghanistan.
For two decades, Iran blamed much of Afghanistan’s miseries on the military intervention there by the U.S. and its allies. But two years after the U.S. withdrawal that Tehran had long demanded, and with the Taliban now firmly in power in Kabul, Iran finds itself facing a unique set of challenges emanating from Afghanistan.
U.S. President Joe Biden recently stirred controversy by stating that al-Qaida no longer has a presence in Afghanistan—thanks, he suggested, to the Taliban. The Taliban predictably applauded his statement, but others pointed out that it contradicted recent U.N. reports. How are we to make sense of these conflicting characterizations?