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These mujahideen received funding, training, supplies, weapons, and sanctuary in Iran.In 1988, Iran strengthened and united several of these Hazara factions into the Hezb-e Wahdat-e Islami or Islamic Unity Party, and Tehran continued to support the organization during the Afghan civil war that followed the Soviet withdrawal in 1989.The Hazara, a Persian-speaking ethnic group which is concentrated mainly in central Afghanistan, with major communities present in western Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, constitutes a large portion of Afghanistan’s Shia.The Hazara make up roughly nine percent of Afghanistan’s population or 2.9 million people. Fifty-eight percent of Iranians or 38.2 million speak Persian, while half of all Afghans or 16.3 million speak one of several dialects of Persian (Dari).The Turkmen population in Afghanistan is concentrated mainly along the northern border with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Incensed at the killing of its citizens and the Taliban’s horrific treatment of Shia minorities, Iran amassed a quarter of a million troops along the border with Afghanistan and threatened to invade.Iran also has a Sunni Muslim minority, which accounts for nine percent of the population or 5.9 million people.Although Afghanistan is predominately Sunni Muslim (80 percent, roughly 27 million people), it does have a sizeable Shia minority, which accounts for nineteen percent of the population or roughly 6.2 million people.Tehran’s support for insurgent groups in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, has been a source of great anxiety for the ISAF and Afghan forces struggling to stabilize Afghanistan.Iran and Afghanistan share a 582-mile (936-km) border along a plain in western Afghanistan.
The Baluch constitute two percent of the Iranian population or roughly 1.3 million people.