Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the Taliban is the greatest threat to the region and to Iran. He made these remarks in an interview that aired on 1TV (Afghanistan) on August 12, 2021, just days before the Taliban took control over the country. Ahmadinejad continued to say that the groups who support the Taliban and spread pro-Taliban propaganda in Iran, claiming that they have changed and mended their ways, have fallen into an "American trap." He explained that America wants to "disrupt the order and to start war among the nations." Ahmadinejad condemned the Iranian recent welcome of a Taliban delegation in Iran, in which former Foreign Minister Zarif, referred to the Taliban as "mujahid." He added that the Iranian people do not support this act.
Interviewer: "Mr. President, a few weeks ago, your country hosted a high-ranking Taliban delegation. The Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Zarif, referred to the Taliban as 'mujahid.' Later, according to the talks and the way that the delegation was welcomed, [Iran] declared, even if only indirectly, its support for the Taliban."
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "I condemned this act by the Foreign Minister. I announce this and it was published in Afghanistan, in Iran, and in the region. They should be asked why they did this. This act does not have the support of the Iranian people and it is inappropriate."
Interviewer: "Don't you think history shows that for years, the regime in Iran extended covert and indirect support for the Taliban, and for the war in Afghanistan?"
Ahmadinejad: "This is something you should ask the Iranian officials, but when I was president, this duplicity did not exist."
Interviewer: "You keep saying that no weapons and no support should be provided to the war in Afghanistan, but you stop short from mentioning any group or country. I'd like to ask you specifically – you refer to the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, right?"
Ahmadinejad: "Anyone. Pakistan... What, isn't Pakistan doing it? What, don't the Arab countries give [the Taliban] money and support? Iran... Whoever it may be. I am talking about the standards regardless of who it may be. It doesn't matter. This is wrong and must not be done.
"I said it before, there were some groups in our country that supported the Taliban. They were engaged in [pro-Taliban] propaganda, and said that [the Taliban] has changed, that it has mended its ways. It was straightforward in saying that this was an American trap, an attempt to disrupt the order and to create war among nations, and that the Taliban is the biggest threat to security in the region, including to Iran."