There might be at least one player that could see a financial boost from the unfolding chaos in Afghanistan, Iran.
The Taliban could soon be a major oil customer of Iran, helping them to overcome crippling U.S. economic sanctions, and helping themselves by gaining a rich source of energy, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
"It is an important sort of lifeline for Afghanistan and, historically, a supply of dollars to Iran," Rachel Ziemba, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security, a bipartisan think tank that has called for carefully calibrated sanctions policy on Iran, told the Journal.
According to the report, Iran has started exporting fuel to Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country Aug. 14, after fighting between the U.S. backed Afghan forces and the Taliban halted trade between the nations.
Afghanistan is using its lucrative narcotics industry to fund the purchases from Iran, which bring much needed dollars into the Iranian economy, long pressed by sanctions from the United States.
The two rogue nations can now barter outside of sanctions by the U.S. and other nations, helping each other fill its needs, according to the report.
The collapse of the Afghan Army opens what had been a closely monitored trade between the countries from the U.S. backed government in Kabul, whose members fled the country as the Taliban quickly resumed power this month amid the U.S. pullout.
According to the report, the trade amounts to around $5 million in petroleum products each day and is expected to rise because of the Taliban not having any other trading partners.
"The greater part of trade on the border with Afghanistan is done in cash, and, due to these reasons, a bigger volume of dollars will flow into Iran from Herat," Masoud Daneshmand, a member of Iran's chamber of commerce, said in an interview with Iranian newspaper Ebtekar.
Trade between the countries serves both very well by giving the Taliban leverage against needing any kind of U.S. aid and allows cash to flow into Tehran where financial institutions can operate outside of international sanctions, the report said.
Money coming in from taxing Afghanistan's heroin industry, which could make up an estimated quarter of the Taliban's annual $1.6 billion a year revenue, could be used to by the fuel and then flow to Iran, according to the Journal.
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