Throughout the U.S. war in Afghanistan, Iran has maintained extensive influence in its eastern neighbor. It played both sides of the conflict, supporting the now-deposed government in Kabul while also developing ties with the Taliban. With the Taliban’s takeover of the country in the wake of the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces, Tehran will engage pragmatically with the militant group to safeguard and further its national security strategy.
It is still uncertain whether the US and Iran can succeed in reaching a new nuclear deal; still, Turkey could benefit either way so long as it takes the rights steps in coordination with the US.
Geopolitical, ideological, and socio-economic quandaries will continue to haunt processes of normalization in the Middle East subsequent to the US’s gradual withdrawal from the region. Underlying issues remain unresolved despite diplomatic relaxation, and the power vacuum left behind by the US has the potential to rekindle regional rivalries and trigger proxy wars worse than those seen under the Obama and Trump administrations.