The latest report by the US State Department says Iran is still the most active state sponsor of terrorism in the world. The report details that Iran’s state-sponsorship of terrorism in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan has threatened security in the region and efforts for promotion of peace and economic stability.
Of course there is no doubt the Iranian Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard conducts the planning, financing and support of terrorism through terrorist groups such as Hammas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine, Hizbullah in Lebanon, Mehdi Militia in Iraq and Taliban with some other factions in Afghanistan.
Coming to the Iranian-hand behind the Taliban insurgency, in June 2007 the Director of US National Intelligence, Michael McConnell had told they have compelling evidence that Iran is supporting terrorist groups in Afghanistan. Prior to the presence of international forces led by the United States, Tehran used to sponsor and support the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. But when the US forces landed in Afghanistan, national interests of Tehran took a turn in Afghanistan. Many Taliban leaders had reportedly escaped towards Iran, where the old-enemy was warmly welcomed. It was also reported in media that some Al-Qaeda leaders have escaped to Tehran. The Iran-Al Qaeda connection was revealed in early 1997 when Osama Bin Ladin in an interview had suggested an alliance between Taliban and Iran for their joint stance against the Untied States. Evidence in this regard was revealed in 2002 when after a military operation in eastern Afghanistan in March 2002 more than 40 American soldiers were killed in the Shahi Kot Mountains. Several documents and lots of ammunition were recovered from caves in the mountains. US military told in April 2002 in Kabul that unused Air Iran tickets and some bills of a hotel in Mashad were also recovered from the caves.
The US has been accusing Iran of meddling in Afghanistan by playing a double game. Tehran is at the same time supporting the Central Government in Kabul with helping in reconstruction of the country, while on the other hand it has been accused of supplying arms to the insurgents.
In 2007 NATO seized a cache of Iranian-marked weapons being supplied to Taliban through Farah Province that borders Iran. NATO had said that the field analysis of the weapons showed the arms were similar to the ones used in Iraq against the US forces by insurgents. Prior to this another cache of roadside bombs were captured in Helmand. It was assumed to have been supplied from Iran. Last year the British officials in London charged the interpreter for NATO’s Commanding General in Afghanistan with passing secrets to Iran.
All the above-mentioned cases were let go away with some condemnations and statements. The issue was never raised on high diplomatic levels. Its mostly because media and analysts have been questioning the US and NATO allegations as part of the campaign to support military option against Iran regarding its nuclear issue. Under this myth, most cases of the evidences and proves of Iranian support of the insurgents were blamed as fake.
In September 2008 BBC’s Kate Clark revealed the Iranian arms and the intensifying Taliban insurgency. A Taliban commander while talking to BBC had admitted the arms supplied from Iran have revolutionized their fight against the US. The commander had said, “There’s a kind of mine called the Dragon. Iran is sending it and we have got it. It’s directional and very powerful.” The commander had further revealed that the Iranian arms were only available to special groups, who had “good contacts” with the Iranians. “There are people inside the state in Iran who donate weapons. There are also Iranian businessmen who sell them,” he had added.
Gulbadin Hekmatyar, leader of the insurgent Hizb-e-Islami had lived in Tehran for quite long time following the ouster of Taliban. Its much likely Tehran has been heavily supplying insurgents through Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami.
One should not expect Tehran to remain neutral in the war on terror both in Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran feels being surrounded by huge US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran is playing its best to oust the US and NATO forces from Afghanistan as soon as possible. It succeeded in doing so in Iraq. Tehran pressurized the Shia leadership in Baghdad to compel the US troops announce their withdrawal date—2011. They have been arming and financing Mehdi Militia of Muqtada Sadr to fight against the US troops.
As the Taliban commander talking to BBC’s Kate Clark had said, “Taliban’s aim is to force the American army leave Afghanistan as soon as possible.” Taliban insurgency tactics have proved they fight in a way to compel military strategists think of an exit strategy—what Tehran wants.
The new US Military strategy in the front-line of the war on terror in Afghanistan had been focusing the safe havens of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas causing the deadly insurgency. The US military and intelligence officials have been claiming to have overwhelming and compelling evidences of Tehran’s hand behind the Taliban insurgency. They should have brought those evidences in front of the UN Security Council to raise the issue on a high diplomatic level. The allied forces in Afghanistan are fighting under a UN mandate and if there is sufficient proof of Tehran’s meddling in Afghanistan, it should be brought in front of the UN