The flow of illicit weapons from Iran to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan has reached such large quantities that it suggests that the shipments are taking place with the knowledge of the government in Tehran, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Wednesday.
Mr. Gates said he had seen new intelligence analysis over the past couple of weeks “that makes it pretty clear there’s a fairly substantial flow of weapons” from Iran across its border to assist insurgents in Afghanistan.
Commenting on potential Iranian government involvement in the arms flow, Mr. Gates said, “I haven’t seen any intelligence specifically to this effect, but I would say, given the quantities that we’re seeing, it is difficult to believe that it’s associated with smuggling or the drug business or that it’s taking place without the knowledge of the Iranian government.”
Mr. Gates is the highest-ranking member of the Bush administration to give voice to its suspicions that Iran is arming Taliban insurgents who have attacked forces of the Afghan government as well as American and other coalition troops.
Afghanistan’s defense minister on Thursday dismissed claims by a top U.S. State Department official that there was “irrefutable evidence” that the Iranian government was providing arms to Taliban rebels.
“Actually, throughout, we have had good relations with Iran and we believe that the security and stability of Afghanistan are also in the interests of Iran,” Abdul Rahim Wardak told The Associated Press.
So, the Americans would like to blame the Iranians for the troubles in Afghanistan. The reality of the situation is impossible to determine, but it seems highly likely that the US is frustrated by its lack of success in “liberating” the poppy-ridden nation. Let’s not forget that the Iranians assisted the US to oust the Taliban in the months after 9/11 and were never too friendly with the fundamentalist regime there.
It’s morbidly amusing to watch the Americans flailing about in a variety of conflicts. No clue how to interact with the locals, no idea how to conduct themselves, paranoid about foreign intervention, determined to kill as many “terrorists” as possible and ultimately turning the “liberated” into the opposition.
Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan are now claiming that they are fighting their own war on drugs, but it’s likely to be as futile as the battle waged by the Americans. Supply and demand plays by its own rules.