Posted by: Christian | March 24, 2009

Khatami on Afghanistan

Just got out of a lecture at the Australian National University by the former Iranian President Khatami (who just recently dropped out of the presidential race). In the Q&A someone ( who was either Afghan or Pakistani) asked him about those two countries. Khatami said three things need to be done in Afghanistan:

  1. Fight the opiate trade
  2. Strengthen the central government
  3. Hmmm…  Seem to have forgotten. Probably poverty reduction or something. Nothing that really caught my attention.

Then be blamed “outside forces” for stoking conflict between Pakistanis. And I don’t think he meant India or the United States. Perhaps across the placid waters of the Persian Gulf lays the thinly veiled illusion. He also stressed that “Iran is practically the only country playing a positive role in Afghanistan.”

He also referred to the 17,000 new troops scheduled for Afghanistan as “an ugly man” that “makes a baby cry” and who should just just leave the baby alone. Not directly though. It’s all about the indirect. But that was right after he mentioned the troop “surge.” So maybe not so indirect.

He did directly say poverty has gotten worse in Afghanistan since the American troops arrived.

You may think he’s irrelevant as he is no longer running for president. But his endorsement of a candidate would be quite the valuable prize in Iran. So his opinion still matters.


  1. Deobandi = Wahhabi, more or less?

    Interesting the mention of the opium trade – what proportion of the profits from the overland route to Teheran would be going to Jundullah?

    Iran seems to have as much at stake as Pakistan, from a state security perspective.

  2. Cool article. Check out, I have a few posts on this topic as well. Also one on the Golden Triangle and the relationship to Afghan opium trade.

  3. […] Afghanistan’s neighbors, Iran’s former President Mohammed Khatami compares the new American deployments to an “ugly man” who “makes a baby […]

  4. I agree, I am a Christian Pakistani, who has never been allowed to share his opinion in Pakistan because If I had I would have been killed already under 295C a Blasphemy law.

    But now I want to and will not stay quite, enough is enough!


%d bloggers like this: