US confirm Iran-Taliban Support Network

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by REMFQuestions, Mar 21, 2010.

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  1. LINK

    TALIBAN commanders have revealed that hundreds of insurgents have been trained in Iran to kill Nato forces in Afghanistan.

    The commanders said they had learnt to mount complex ambushes and lay improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which have been responsible for most of the deaths of British troops in Helmand province.

    The accounts of two commanders, in interviews with The Sunday Times, are the first descriptions of training of the Taliban in Iran.

    According to the commanders, Iranian officials paid them to attend three-month courses during the winter.

    They were smuggled across the border to the city of Zahidan, in southeast Iran, an hour’s drive from training camps in the desert.

    Instructors in plain clothes provided daily exercises in live firing. The first month was devoted largely to teaching the Taliban how to attack convoys and how to escape before Nato forces could respond.

    During their second month they were shown how to plant IEDs in sequence so that the rescuers of soldiers wounded in one blast would be caught in further explosions.

    The third month was spent on storming bases and checkpoints. A hilltop fort was among the locations used for practice by a Taliban platoon.

    Local mediators persuaded the commanders to travel to Kabul to tell their stories. They were interviewed on separate occasions on the edge of the city.

    Western officials troubled by growing Iranian support for the Taliban describe the accounts as credible. A military crackdown in Pakistan is thought to have encouraged Taliban leaders to look to Iran for more help.

    One of the commanders said: “The military is pressuring the Taliban in Pakistan. It is certainly harder to reach places that were once easy to get into. I think more of my fighters will travel to Iran for training this year.”

    Karl Eikenberry, the American ambassador to Afghanistan, recently described signs of co-operation between Iran and the Taliban as disturbing.

    “Iran or elements within Iran have provided training assistance and some weapons to the Taliban,” he said.

    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has publicly backed his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai. But American and British officials have accused Iran of playing a double game by giving covert backing to the Taliban.

    Shi’ite Iran had long opposed the Sunni-dominated Taliban. The reason for the change was summarised by one Taliban commander who said of the Iranians: “Our religions and our histories are different but our target is the same. We both want to kill Americans.”
  2. LOL, this intelligence link reminds me of something that Blair came up with just before we went to war with Iraq again.
  3. You don't think Iran support the Taliban/Insurgency in Afghanistan?
  4. In other news it has been confirmed after many decades of speculation that bears do in fact shite in woods.
  5. I won't believe it until I read it in the Guardian.
  6. Back in the day the Iranians provided rear basing for the fight against the 40th Army, particularly Ismail Khan and the groups that became Hizb-e-Wahdat. They have a natural constituency amongst the Hazāra who Omar's mob were prone to massacre and tortured to death the leader of Hizb-e-Wahdat Abdul Ali Mazari. Dostum and representatives of Hekmatyar attended the funeral.

    Even Hekmatyar has an Iranian connection. Spurned by the ISI in favor of the rising starts of the Taliban Hekmatyar has enjoyed the hospitality of Tehran though he was expelled in 02 under US pressure. The old monster now heads a major "taliban" group HIG. HIG has shown signs of being able to compromise with Kabul after US withdrawal and recently clashed with the Quetta Shura.

    Karzai's current Commander in Chief Dostum is chummy with Tehran, having spent time there after Mullah Omar sacked stronghold Mazar-e-Sharif and butchered its people. A former Soviet soldier of some ability Dostum's eccentricities include promoting the rights of women, toasting talibans in shipping containers and executions by T-72 track.

    Ismail Khan is now Karzai's economic minister.

    Karzai is also a very good friend of Qom. A great deal of DC's unease with Kabul stems from the web of Iranian influence that exists there.

    This isn't as dense as in Baghdad but the fact is the Iranians are a rising regional power broker. The obvious guarantor against the braided predators of Pindi that DC and Beijing are apt to pamper.

    There a summary of recent history here:
    Bearing in mind that DC is historically a none too reliable player, a long term ally of the House Of Saud and Pak Military principle backers both of the Muhj and today's Taliban Quetta Shura its not surprising that Karzai hedges his bets with Qom.

    That said Qom's fine Florentine hand often holds its enemies closer when expedient and harassing the Farangi must be irresistible. With the disappointing prospect of US withdrawal from a safely Shi'a dominated Iraq those Qods Force chaps will be looking for new playmates and a more target rich environment.

    Course Qom's involvement in the Soviet war was slight compared with Pindi's. The same is true now and there is ample evidence to support that going back decades.
  7. Since the Taliban was the established government of Afghanistan when the US/UK invaded, it seems that the insurgents are the military forces paid and equipped by the West.

    Still, if having all the supplies, all the helicopters, all the tanks, all the artillery and all the technology isn't making the war easy enough for you, perhaps it'll be possible to broker a deal where your enemies only get bows and arrows from their friends over the border.

    Or would you rather settle for water pistols?
  8. Well, duh.

    It is entirely in the Iranian's interests to keep the US just busy enough in Iraq and AFG that they can't act against Iran. If it was just mayhem they were after we'd see a lot more support provided, but push too hard and the rules of the game may change.

    And don't think that the Iranians actually like the Taliban, it's just that if they can get them and the US to kill each other it's win-win.
  9. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    It's long overdue for the US and the UK to properly return the favour for Iran's meddling in both Iraq and Afghan that has cost the lives of scores of British, US and other country's soldiers.

    We treated the Iranian prisoners and suspects with kid gloves in Iraq because Maliki insisted on it, and it cost many lives, let's not fcuk about anymore and start knocking these fcukers off.
  10. As opposed to the UK and US medling in Iraq and Afghanistan which have cost thousands of lives and merely reinforced the position of Iran in both countries in the wider region.
  11. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    As far as Afghan goes, was that before or after they hosted AQ? Iraq, was that before or after he started the Iran/Iraq war in which he used chemical weapons, or invaded Kuwait?

    The fact is, we and everybody else has meddled in the ME since before the Crusades, to the point that we even drew the s0dding borders of most of these countries.

    In hitting the Taliban/AQ and Saddam, we may have given Iran more wasta with those that would attack us, but these people would and have attacked us anyway.

    Has our 'meddling' strengthened the position of Iran with its Arab neighbours - I very much doubt that Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries would like to see a strengthened Persian, Shia state.

    We do the meddling, and always have, and just because Iran engages in a proxy war with the US and UK does not mean that we have to sit back and take it like muppets because we ourselves have been meddling and thus should be guiltily wringing our hands rather than taking them on in the same manner.

    That way is for the weak, the stupid and the defeatist.

    Edited to add: Maybe we should just sit back and take it from Iran because we are merely meddlers, and anyway, they are going to be a nuclear power soon, so let's get the Chamberlainesque signed paperwork in place before it gets too hot eh?
  12. As far as Afghanistan goes I fully agree the US had a right to go after AQ based there if the Taliban wouldn't give them up. There now seems to be a bit of mission creep to remaking the country in our image; a pretty hopeless and pointless task. As for the Iran/Iraq (1980-88) war that's got sod all to do with our invasion in 2003. Our (UK/US) only involvement in that was supplying Iraq with weapons and intelligence, not that I have anything against that it may have been in our combined natural interest at the time. As for the invasion of Kuwait, that was sorted out at the time by a little thing called Op Granby/Desert Storm.

    Your logic about the position vis a vis their neighbours is a bit odd; we've strengthened Iran therefore their neighbours are worried therefore Iran is weakened - truly convoluted.

    If we weren't involved in conflicts which do nothing to strengthen our national interest our security Iran wouldn't be able to engage in a proxy conflict with us in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
  13. haha established! Awesome. Tell that to Mahsoud.

    By established you infer a legitimacy that they did not possess. The word you are looking for is seized power. And they had over 30 opportunities from the US State Department to hand over OBL. They didn't. They got smashed. Long story short.

    In the grand scheme of things the Western Military have suffered very little and in return we now have the most advanced equipment, ISTAR and vehicles in the world crewed by the most combat experienced soldiers on earth.

    No other nation will even consider conventional warfare against the US/UK war machine. It's why the Russians are rapidly rewriting their doctrine to reflect the changing nature of warfare.

    The last 10 years have given the West access to the greatest training arena ever. Just like the Russians in 79-89.

  14. I presume you are being ironic, the Taliban did of course seize power as did every Afghan government since 1973. Despite that US oil companies, encouraged by the State Dept, were more than happy to try and do deals with them; personally I have no quarrel with that, business is business.

    As for your bit about the benefits of the Afghan campaign and the fact that western forces have suffered very little - What planet are you on. If it's training value you're after I'm sure upgrading BATUS or something might have been better. And the training benefits to the Russians didn't help them much in Chechnya. Not too metion helping bring down the USSR. If I missed you being ironic I apologise, if you meant even half of that seriously I despair.
  15. Sitting back and taking it like muppets is precisely our approach with Pakistan and Saudi for that matter. Recently there has at least been the occasional harsh word amongst the praise for Pindi's far larger double game. It's not surprising we got sod all wasta in the region.

    Our mistake here was failing to make a deal with Iran in 02 when they were bloody terrified of DC's next move. Now they underestimate DC as a demented old beast easily distracted away from harming them. They think Allah has made their enemy mad. They'll continue to unwisely tweak its tail. Even a Pentagon that is extremely reluctant to get mired in a land war in Iran is very dangerous.

    It's actually careful Persian diplomacy that worries me more than Qods Force antics. They've played a weak hand very well in Iraq mainly via influence peddling. Our only obvious way out of Afghanistan on the timescales Barry has set is to seek terms with the Pak Military over Kabul and sell out the Afghans much as we did in the 90s. Qom watched it happen last time and did not like the result. Their rear secured they are immensely stronger now. Like Pindi Qom also sees Afghanistan as providing "strategic depth" and are positioned to play a spoiler in this.