The United States and Great Britain ever more insistently accuse the Iranian
regime of providing arms to the Taliban guerrillas and supporting little “autonomous”
armed groups active in the western regions of Afghanistan, those under the responsibility
of the Italian command. But both NATO and the government of Kabul, which receives
hundreds of millions of dollars of aid from Tehran, are more cautious: they confirm
the presence of arms and Iranian combatants in the Afghan west, but they cast
doubt upon an involvement of the Iranian government.
Taliban Arms of Pasdaran. According to the American Undersecretary of State, Nicholas Burns, there are
“irrefutable proofs” that the government of Tehran is sending arms to the Afghan
rebels “through commanders in the Revolutionary Guards, who are a military unit
of the regime.” The so-called proofs would be the recent captures-- effectuated
in the west and south of Afghanistan--of explosives, mortars, and land mines with
marks of Iranian factories that would demonstrate the origin of the arsenals of
But at Kabul, both the Afghan authorities and the generals of NATO tend to exclude
the direct involvement of Tehran. The most subscribed to version in Afghanistan
is that the Pasdaran on the border act autonomously, selling their own arms to
the Taliban in exchange for the cargos of opium that pass over the frontier. Not
by chance the capturing of arms has taken place during April and May, that is,
at the same time as the season of harvest.
Iranian Armed Taliban Groups. The other chapter of Iranian support to the Taliban guerrillas concerns two
jihadist groups active for some months in the western Afghan provinces: Lashkar-and-Mohammad-Rassoulullah
(The Army of the Prophet Mohammed) and Jihad-and-Ansar (Supporters of Jihad).
According to anonymous sources in the National Directorate of Security (the Afghan
secret services), in the provinces of Herat and Farah these two Iranian guerrilla
movements act, supposedly supported, armed, and financed by the Pasdaran.
The existence of these groups is confirmed, but their combatants are Iranian
Baluchi: a Sunni minority (like the Taliban) hostile to the Shiite regime of Tehran
which in its turn considers the Baluchi to be provocateurs paid by the West. According
to a report of IWPR, it’s a question of volunteers who come into Afghanistan in
order to fight the jihad without any tie to the Iranian regime.
Point of View. According to the philo-western Afghan journalist Mohammad Rafiq Shahir, “Iran
subsidizes war in Afghanistan hoping that it will last as long as possible, thus
to keep the United States engaged on Afghan soil and delay a direct attack on
the part of the United States.”
For Mohammad Ali Najafi Manesh, the Iranian consul in Herat, things look different:
“The false accusations against Iran are part of the propaganda war of Washington
that in this time needs to cover up the reality that America is losing the war,
even in Afghanistan.”