From the Blotter at ABC News: Document: Iran Caught Red-Handed Shipping Arms to Taliban.
NATO officials say they have caught Iran red-handed, shipping heavy arms, C4 explosives and advanced roadside bombs to the Taliban for use against NATO forces, in what the officials say is a dramatic escalation of Iran’s proxy war against the United States and Great Britain.
“It is inconceivable that it is anyone other than the Iranian government that’s doing it,” said former White House counterterrorism official Richard Clarke, an ABC News consultant.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stopped short earlier this week of blaming Iran, saying the U.S. did not have evidence “of the involvement of the Iranian government in support of the Taliban.”
But an analysis by a senior coalition official, obtained by the Blotter on ABCNews.com, concludes there is clear evidence of Iran’s involvement.
“This is part of a considered policy,” says the analysis, “rather than the result of low-level corruption and weapons smuggling.”
Iran and the Taliban had been fierce enemies when the Taliban was in power in Afghanistan, and their apparent collaboration came as a surprise to some in the intelligence community.
“I think their goal is to make it very clear that Iran has the capability to make life worse for the United States on a variety of fronts,” said Seth Jones of the Rand Institute, “even if they have to do some business with a group that has historically been their enemy.”
The coalition analysis says munitions recovered in two Iranian convoys, on April 11 and May 3, had “clear indications that they originated in Iran. Some were identical to Iranian supplied goods previously discovered in Iraq.”
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