The two countries border Iran, which was their bitter enemy in the period 1996-2001. Did they try to join forces against it? Or were they enemies themselves, given their different outlooks?

To be clear, we're talking about the period 1996-2001, when the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan. I'm specifically not asking about Saddam's relationship with Al Qaeda, real or supposed.

I would like well sourced answers. Primary sources or academic sources, in other words.

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    Note that the Taliban weren't directly responsible for the WTC attacks either. That was Al Queda. The US only invaded Afghanistan after the Taliban (as the government of that country) refused to give up Al Queda leaders in a timely manner.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 18:08
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    No preliminary research. Opinion related question (the keyword "true" indicates that there is unlikely to be a true answer). I think this is current events, not history.
    – MCW
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 18:21
  • I found nothing. That's why there's nothing. Saddam has been gone for 13 years, so isn't current.
    – Ne Mo
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 23:32
  • I don't get what's wrong with this question. Other than 'too recent' (I don't agree, but fine) why is it opinion-related? I removed the offending word 'true'. The OBL stuff was just to clarify I was not asking about the saddam/9-11 allegations... I am asking what the relations were like between two countries. I don't get what's so wrong with that.
    – Ne Mo
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 11:11

2 Answers 2



Talks about a link to a certain document that refers to Saddam's contacts with the Taliban. At the same it also refers to reports where Saddam was willing to help the US with the search for Bin Laden. The true extent can only be summed up as follows: They were playing all sides.

  • 1
    I'd be very cautious about relying upon World Net Daily.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 7:24

Some people, possibly trying to justify the 2003 war on Iraq, have tried to tie Saddam to the Taliban. Such ideas are pure smear and have no basis in fact. Just as one example of the tenuous nature of such allegations, consider this declassified-on-purpose US State Department cable excerpt:

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In 1998 a Taliban spokesman meets secretly with US DOS and "wonders" (after American prompting) if Saddam Hussein is, like a snake, the "root cause" of Al-Qaeda. It's absurd to treat garbage like this, as some kind of "proof" that the Taliban was connected to Saddam Hussein.

Saddam Hussein and the entire Baathist government of Iraq were Alawites, like the Syrian governing minority. They worship figures like the prophet Hussein, although the dimensions of their religion are obscure because it has secret elements. The Taliban is primarily composed of Pashtuns who are Sunni and they hate the Alawites, whom they view as heretics. The Taliban regularly massacres the Alawite minority in Pakistan and Afghanistan. On 8 May 2015, the Qatari (Sunni) television channel, Al-Jazeera, broadcast a debate intended to explain the necessity for all Sunnis to torture and massacre all Alawites. They conducted a "poll" the results of which was that 96.20% of viewers believed all Alawites should be put to death. That's the nature of the "relations" between the Taliban and the Alawites.

I would not consider Iraq and Iran to be "bitter" enemies. Although they fought a war, there were primarily political reasons for the war. From an ethnic and religious point of view the two are much more similar to each other than to the various Sunni tribes. The Alawi religion is roughly aligned, like Iran, with Shiite Islam, so although the Iranians are suspicious of them, they are not calling for genocide against them, the way the Sunnis, like the Taliban, do.

Did they try to join forces against it? No. At the time in question the Taliban was a irregular force with no fixed leadership, no heavy weapons and an ideological hatred for Alawis.

  • @AlaskaRon The Baathist party is the political arm of the Alawites, or the "alevism" doctrine as it is sometimes known. Alawi is actually a tribal name, the ideological name is more properly the "Nusayri". The entire Baa'thist government in Iraq, including Saddam Hussein, were Nusayri, if not in practice, by family descent. Tikrit is the capital of the Nusayri in Iraq and the bulk of the population is alevistic. The local militia in Tikrit is actually called literally the "Nusayri Army". ISIS singles them out for extermination. Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 2:23
  • This needs a citation. As far as I know, virtually all Alawites are from the area of western Syria/Lebanon.
    – AlaskaRon
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 2:39
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    Saddam Hussein and the Baathist government of Iraq were... Alawites? Please either find a citation for that or withdraw this answer.
    – AlaskaRon
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 2:42
  • @AlaskaRon I am using the word Alawi loosely because more people know that word, rather than Nusayri. The Iraqi Baa'thists are more properly called "Nusayri", but it amounts to the same thing. It is the same ideology that the Alawi have. All the Baa'thists are the same thing, they are Nusayri. Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 2:44
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    I appreciate taking the question seriously enough to answer it. But Saddam and Iraqi Baathism were Sunni, not Alawi/Nusayri which is a heterodox form of Shiism. Saddam may have been a pseudo-Sunni (and pseudo-secularist) but his Sunnism was mainline, even if it wasn't sincere. The Taliban would no doubt have persecuted Alawites, but there weren't any in Afghanistan.
    – Ne Mo
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 11:10

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