Iran’s state sponsorship of terror is spreading throughout Afghanistan, as new reports show leaders of the Sunni-run Taliban and Shiite-controlled Islamic Republican have joined forces to oust America’s military.
Iran apparently has come to view the Taliban — once its mortal enemy — as a lesser threat, and one that can help with its national fight against America.
“As the [U.S.-backed] NATO mission in Afghanistan expanded, the Iranians quietly began supporting the Taliban to bleed the Americans and their allies by raising the cost of the intervention so that they would leave,” reports the New York Times (NYT). “Iran has come to see the Taliban not only as the lesser of its enemies but also as a useful proxy force,” it adds.
“The regional politics have changed,” Mohammed Arif Shah Jehan, a former senior intelligence official who now serves as the governor of Farah province,” told NYT. “The strongest Taliban here are Iranian Taliban.”
Farah, located in western Afghanistan, sits along the Iranian border.
Citing Afghan officials, the Times reveals that “Iran has sent [to Afghanistan] squads of assassins, secretly nurtured spies and infiltrated police ranks and government departments, especially in western [Afghan] provinces.”
“Iran has conducted an intensifying covert intervention, much of which is only now coming to light,” adds the Times. “It is providing local Taliban insurgents with weapons, money, and training. It has offered Taliban commanders sanctuary and fuel for their trucks. It has padded Taliban ranks by recruiting among Afghan Sunni refugees in Iran, according to Afghan and Western officials.”
Some Iranian commanders were among the Taliban fatalities from a battle in Farah province last year.
“Four senior Iranian commandos were among the scores of dead, Afghan intelligence officials said, noting their funerals in Iran,” reports NYT, referring to the October 2016 Taliban assault in Farah.
“Many of the Taliban dead and wounded were also taken back across the nearby border with Iran, where the insurgents had been recruited and trained, village elders told Afghan provincial officials,” it adds.
The Taliban coordinated the Farah offensive with attacks in other major cities, reportedly marking the terrorist group’s most ambitious attempt to regain power since 2001.
“It was also a piece of an accelerating Iranian campaign to step into a vacuum left by departing American forces—Iran’s biggest push into Afghanistan in decades,” notes the Times, alluding to the assault.
Mutual hate towards the Sunni Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has reportedly driven Iran and the Taliban closer together.
Iran, along with Russia, denies supporting the Taliban.
But those with direct knowledge say Iran’s “facilitated” the transfer of weapons and funds from Russia to the terror group. And a former Taliban commander confirmed.
And now U.S. forces are facing a mounting threat from several terror groups — the Taliban, ISIS, al Qaeda — and from several nations apparently working together, including Iran, Russia and even Pakistan.
The Truth Must be Told
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