KANDAHAR -- Police special forces in Kandahar discovered eight Iranian-made rockets in Takhta Pul District aimed at the Ahmad Shah Baba International Airport in Kandahar, security officials said.
"Eight rockets, each 1.5 metres long, were seized in Makyano village of Takhta Pul District," Kandahar police spokesman Jamal Naser Barekzai said in Kandahar city January 15.
"Our preliminary information indicates that these rockets are manufactured in Iran and were given to anti-government elements," he said.
"The 444th special police unit discovered and neutralised the rockets, which were ready to be fired, by relying on intelligence information," he said. "We are investigating to find out who brought these rockets here to target the airport and how they did it."
The militants using the rockets reportedly fled the scene when security forces were sent to the area.
"We cannot disagree with the provincial police authorities. There is no doubt that the eight 122mm rockets were brought by anti-government elements [the Taliban] to target the airport," said Kandahar Governor Hayatullah Hayat.
"Fortunately, our security forces prevented this tragic incident from happening," he said.
"Our security forces, as well as foreign forces, are conducting further assessments of the rockets," he added.
"This is not new that Iran is interfering in Afghanistan," said the police chief of a Kandahar district who wished to remain anonymous. "My forces were captured or killed, on many occasions, by Taliban fighters who were receiving money and weapons from Iran."
"We have captured Iranian weapons," he said. "Iran has specific Taliban groups in Kandahar to whom they provide generous logistical support to make this province insecure and protect Iranian interests here."
"Iran has more than 1,000 terrorists in Farah, Nimroz, Helmand, and Kandahar who fight on behalf of Iran," the district police chief said.
"Even their family expenses are paid by Iran," he added. "I am personally from Kandahar, and I know exactly all those Taliban who fight on instructions from Iran. We call on foreign forces to contain Iranian interference in the region."
Long history of support for Taliban
In an incident last May, Kandahar Chief of Police Gen. Tadeen Khan Achakzai confirmed that police had discovered an Iranian-made rocket in Kandahar city.
Afghan political analysts and officials have asked the United Nations (UN) to prevent the Iranian regime's interference in Afghanistan.
"Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Iranian co-operation with the Taliban and use of [Iranian] weapons in southern provinces have been revealed. Iranian weapons have been seized in Helmand, Farah, Kandahar and Zabul provinces a number of times before as well," said Mohammad Asas, a political analyst in Kandahar.
"Iran has its specific groups of Taliban in Afghanistan. Iran provides them with weapons and money and even sends some Afghans to Syria and Iraq to fight," Asas said. "Iran has enmity with Afghans and never wants Afghans to be united. It tries to divide Afghans under the name of Shia and Sunni."
"Iran has a dispute over water with Afghans, which is why it conducts proxy wars in Afghanistan by supporting some groups of Taliban," said Assadullah Kakar, another political analyst in Kandahar. "It gives them modern weapons and funding to target Afghan security forces and [NATO forces]. This has been going on for the last four decades."
"Our request to the international community is to impose further economic sanctions on Iran because its regime, against all humanitarian and international principles, promotes terrorism," Kakar said.
"Iranians have had a number of meetings with leaders of certain Taliban groups in Tehran and Mashhad in the last 18 years -- since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan," said Atta Jan Haqbayan, chairman of the Zabul provincial council and head of the co-ordinating council of all provincial councils of Afghanistan.
"Even the families of some Taliban live under the direct observation and protection of the Revolutionary Guards in Iran. These Taliban commit terrorism in ... Farah, Nimroz, Zabul, Uruzgan, Kandahar, and Helmand," said Haqbayan.
"The Iranian regime is responsible for the death of Afghans as well as of people in the Middle East and the region," he said. "The Iranian regime never wants peace to prevail in those countries. It has always tried to wage wars under the name of religion."
"We do not understand why the UN has been silent about Iranian interference," he said. "The UN must take military action against this terrorist state. Iran is a danger to all humanity."