Iran TerrorismGates points to Iran as source of weapons to...

Gates points to Iran as source of weapons to Taliban

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AFP: US Defence Secretary Robert Gates Wednesday said “substantial” quantities of Iranian weapons are flowing into Afghanistan and it is difficult to believe the Iranian government is not aware of it. RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany, June 13, 2007 (AFP) – US Defence Secretary Robert Gates Wednesday said “substantial” quantities of Iranian weapons are flowing into Afghanistan and it is difficult to believe the Iranian government is not aware of it.

Gates, who in the past has refrained from pointing the finger at the Iranian government, said recent anlysis “makes it pretty clear there is a substantial flow of weapons.”

“I would say given the quantities we’re seeing it is difficult to believe it is associated with smuggling or the drug business, or that it’s taking place without the knowledge of the Iranian government,” Gates told reporters.

Gates said he had not seen specific intelligence of Iranian involvement, but the latest analysis was based “on the weapons themselves and the explosives that have been seized.”

The United States has long accused Iran’s Qods Force, an arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, of arming and training Shiite extremist groups in Iraq.

But in recent weeks US military officials have said Iranian-made weapons, including armor piercing explosives known as explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, have turned up in Afghanistan.

“My impression is that the weapons are going to the Taliban,” he said.

Unlike Iraq, he said he was not aware of any evidence that the Qods Force is operating in Afghanistan, and he expressed puzzlement over Iranian intentions.

“The irony is the Afghan governments and Iranian governments have pretty good relations,” he said.

Gates spoke after meetings here with US commanders ahead of a NATO defense minister’s meeting in Brussels that will take up NATO-led operations against a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan.

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