Iran, worried that new U.S. negotiations with the Taliban will lead to Western troops remaining in Afghanistan beyond 2014, is working to fuel anti-American sentiment in the region and build its own ties with Taliban leaders.
According to The Washington Post, the Iranian plan involves forging closer relations with the Taliban, funding politicians and media for propaganda, and expanding cultural ties in Afghanistan. As the United States seeks to engage in peace talks with the Taliban, the Iranians are taking a similar strategy to the one they took in Iraq preceding the 2011 troop drawdown.
The United States has far more leverage in Afghanistan than it did in Iraq, because the Afghans are expected to remain dependent on foreign aid for years. The Administration of President Barack Obama hopes to use the dependence to keep troops in the country beyond 2014.