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The Killid Group

U.S. and Iran contest, Bring Negative Points over Afghans

Written by
Wednesday, 26 May 2010 11:02

U.S. and Iran contest, Bring Negative Points over Afghans By Sareer Paiwand

Last week, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen told reporters here in Kabul during a press conference that they had recently found Iranian weapons in Kandahar.  For their part, the Iranian Embassy in Kabul denies all these allegations in a press release denying claims that Iran is arming or even funding the Taliban in Kandahar province.

The Iranian Embassy completely rejected arming insurgents and requested the U.S. to pursue constructive counterterrorism instead of accusing and blaming others.  Iran was eager to emphasize its commitment to support a stable and peaceful Afghanistan.

Prior to Mullen's accusations, news had already broken regarding Iranian officials intervening in Afghan domestic issues.  Stories broke that the Taliban are receiving military training in Iran to fight against Afghan and coalition forces across Afghanistan. Even these stories, of course, were dismissed by Iranian officials.

At the time of the Taliban regime, a number of Iranian diplomats were killed by Taliban in Mazar-e-Sharif for spying and conducting intelligence activities, therefore Iran's full support of the Taliban along with their training and arming on Iranian soil by the Revolutionary Guard would be a bold move to help an erstwhile enemy that might one day turn on your again.

A few weeks ago, Sunday Times Magazine reported that two popular and powerful local commanders of the Taliban in Wardak and Ghazni provinces were trained and fully armed by Iranian Intelligence networks inside Iran. According to the article, in 2009, Taliban high delegations and the Iranian government held a meeting discussing military training programs for Taliban soldiers run by the Iranian intelligence networks. These Taliban insurgents were given military training in ambushing, bombing and other militia operations over Afghan and coalition forces, the source informed. This training was said to take place near Zahedan, in southeastern Iran.

This news, accurate or not, will nevertheless bring up a number of questions among the Afghan public over Iranian officials' statement that they seek a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan. Some political experts believe that when Iranian officials emphasize peace and security in Afghanistan, it is merely cover for the funding and arming of Taliban insurgents in Iran proper to wage war against Afghan and coalition forces in Afghanistan itself.

A few weeks ago, Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadinejad visited Afghanistan and reacted strongly over coalition forces, especially the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, and put forward a question: why did these foreign troops travel 1,200 km here?

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' response to Ahmedinejad's visit consisted of reiterating the accusation that Iran is playing a double game here in Afghanistan. Gates castigated the Iranian government for seeming supportive of the Afghan government one moment but then arming and funding Taliban insurgents in their war against Afghan and coalition forces the next.

Political analysts express concern that as much as Afghanistan maybe a proxy battlefield between Pakistan and India, it is equally being used by Iran and the U.S.  In this case, Iran and the U.S. can exert pressure on each other through Afghanistan when such standoffs as Iran nuclear program intensify.

Unfortunately Afghans are the ones who will suffer the negative consequences from these contests.


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