Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Iran ‘trains Taliban fighters’ in four camps

Iran ‘trains Taliban fighters’ in four camps
Iran is supplying the Taliban with more weapons, training and cash, say reports
Iran has stepped up its support for the Taliban in Afghanistan, providing at least four training camps for the movement’s fighters inside its territory, according to officials quoted in the Wall Street Journal.

While Iran’s Shia rulers sit at the opposite end of the religious spectrum from the Taliban’s Sunni fundamentalists, the two have become allies of convenience against common enemies.

In the past, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps gave the Taliban weapons and money to fight American and other Western forces in Afghanistan. As long ago as 2007, Western officials noted that convoys carrying weapons for the Taliban were crossing Afghanistan’s frontier with Iran.

Today, the terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) are establishing a presence in Afghanistan, against the bitter opposition of the Taliban. Now that US and coalition troops are no longer conducting combat operations in Afghanistan, the evidence suggests that Iran is helping the Taliban against the common enemy represented by Isil.

One Taliban commander said that Iran was paying his monthly salary as well as supplying his fighters with guns and ammunition.
In addition, Iran has allowed the Taliban to open an office in the eastern city of Mashhad.

Iran now runs at least four training camps for Taliban fighters, located in Tehran as well as in Mashhad, the city of Zahedan and the province of Kerman.
This extra support has helped the Taliban to renew their offensive against government forces in Afghanistan. “If it wasn’t for Iran, I don’t think they would’ve been able to push an offensive like they are doing now,” said Antonio Giustozzi, a Taliban expert, quoted in the Wall Street Journal.

America and Iran are trying to settle the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear programme with a final agreement due to be signed by the end of this month. Under the likely terms of this deal, sanctions on Iran would be lifted. Billions of dollars of extra revenue would then flow into the regime’s coffers, potentially allowing them to give more support to the Taliban and other armed movements.

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