At about 40:39 into the documentary the Director of Afghan Intelligence, Amrullah Saleh (pictured above), complains bitterly about Pakistani support for the Taliban. He says:
The enemy is an ideology … [and a] policy nurtured in Pakistan for 30 years. And it says Afghanistan must be governed by a backwater, conservative, clerical state obedient, half-obedient or at least loyal to Pakistan. Pakistanis were not able to finance such an adventure, so they started to beg money and resources from Arab countries and from extremist figures in the Arab world.
Iran faced the very same foe in the late 1990's. In August of 1998, Iran was seriously provoked when nine of its diplomats were murdered during the Talibani takeover of the northern Afghan city Mazar-i-Sharif. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, publicly held Pakistan partly responsible. Iranian Army divisions from nine provinces massed along the Iran-Afghanistan border. War appeared imminent.
Iranian Army units massing along the Afghanistan border, 1998
However, cooler heads in Tehran prevailed, and there was no attempted invasion or military occupation. (American and Israeli hawks that subscribe to the notion that Iran's leadership is "irrational" would do well to study the level of restraint exercised during this incident.) While the Iranians faced the same adversaries currently confronting American forces, that is to say Pakistani-supported Pashtun fighters (Taliban) and Saudi-supported Arab mercenaries (al-Qaida), Iran took a different, some would say smarter approach to their conflict. Instead of directly engaging the enemy with its own military force, Iran aligned itself with local proxy forces against the Talibani-Pakistani-Saudi axis. These forces were comprised of Tajiks (an Iranian people), Hazara (Shia) and Uzbeks (Turko-Persians). The game was the same that's now played by the Americans: bring over as many Pashtuns as they could over to their side. Only today, the American variation involves adversarial elements drawn from its own supposed allies- Pakistan, and to a lesser extent Saudi Arabia- as well as a complicated, full-fledged military occupation by IASF forces. Big difference, with far-reaching consequences.
It is a supreme irony that Iran finds two of its enemies (the Taliban and the US) engaged in a seemingly endless war in Afghanistan; another irony being the Baath-US conflict in Iraq. In both cases, the Saudi-supported Arab mercenary group (al-Qaida) is also engaged. All the while, Iran's sideline approach to the conflict mirrors the very one the US once enjoyed during the Iran-Iraq War. It is safe to assume that Iran's leadership is very much pleased with the situation. For if not for an open-ended American military commitment to Afghanistan, Iran might again be forced to deal with this themselves. And for Iran during the late 1990's, that constituted a major distraction, filled with peril and difficulty, to which Americans now understand full well. Ever more so, for the US actually has boots on the ground, with more on the way; in its ninth year of war and counting.