AFP: Coalition forces in Afghanistan have intercepted Iranian-made mortars and explosives that were destined for the Taliban, the top US military chief said Tuesday. WASHINGTON, April 17, 2007 (AFP) – Coalition forces in Afghanistan have intercepted Iranian-made mortars and explosives that were destined for the Taliban, the top US military chief said Tuesday.
General Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the weapons were intercepted in the Kandahar region within the past month but it was not known if any elements of the Iranian government were involved.
“It is not as clear in Afghanistan which Iranian entity is responsible. But we have intercepted weapons in Afghanistan headed for the Taliban that were made in Iran,” he told defense reporters here.
“We do not know with the same clarity that we know in Iraq who was involved. So the fact that we know is: made in Iran, being delivered to the Taliban in Afghanistan, being intercepted by coalition forces. That’s all we know about (it),” he said.
Pace said the weapons intercepted were mortars and C-4-type explosives.
He said it was unclear whether they were shipped directly from Iran or via another more tortuous route.
Senior US officials have repeatedly accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force of arming and training Shiite militias in Iraq for attacks on US forces.
But Pace’s remarks suggest high level concern that the Iranians may now be expanding those operations into Afghanistan, where a NATO-led force is confronted with the biggest Taliban resurgence since its ouster in 2001.