Security

Tehran paid Taliban to kill US troops in Afghanistan, intelligence reports reveal

Salaam Times and AFP

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In this file photo taken on July 2, 2002, US soldiers drive past helicopters at Bagram Air Base. [Jewel Samad/AFP]

KABUL -- The Iranian regime offered the Taliban bounties to attack US and coalition soldiers in Afghanistan, just as the Kremlin allegedly did, CNN reported Monday (August 17), citing US military intelligence.

The United States identified payments tied to six attacks last year, including an assault in December on a building outside Bagram Air Base near Kabul, said CNN.

The attack, which CNN said killed two Afghan civilians and left four Americans injured, brought US-Taliban peace negotiations to a temporary halt.

In a statement, the US Department of Defence would not confirm or deny the CNN report.

The department does not disclose details of internal discussions on intelligence, said Maj. Rob Lodewick, a Pentagon spokesman.

However, he added, the department "has repeatedly demanded, both publically and privately, that Iran cease its scourge of malign and destabilising behavior throughout the Middle East and the world".

"Iran's inimical influence seeks to undermine the Afghan peace process and foster a continuation of violence and instability," he added.

In June, US media reported that intelligence had determined that the Russian regime had offered the Taliban bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan.

The Iranian regime has been accused of supporting two opposing groups -- the Taliban and the Fatemiyoun Division -- to cause instability and chaos in Afghanistan.

"Iran's support for the Taliban and Fatemiyoun fighters, who are politically, religiously and ideologically opposed to each other, shows that Iran is pursuing and managing a policy of anarchism and crisis in Afghanistan so that it can achieve its security, economic and political objectives," said Kabul-based political analyst Aminullah Shariq.

The Fatemiyoun Division is a militia made up of Afghans funded, trained and equipped by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Admitted ties to Taliban

At the same time, Tehran has admitted its ties to the Taliban and its opposition to the peace process.

"We have ties with the Taliban, and they visited Iran, where we held meetings with them," Abbas Araghchi, Iranian deputy foreign minister for political affairs, said an interview with TOLOnews that aired on July 19.

"We have had links with various groups including the Taliban for a few years, and we have shared our views with them on a variety of matters," he added.

His government is not in favour of the Afghan peace process, he confirmed.

"We see that the IRGC has invested heavily in operatives and destructive groups, using Afghans within both the Fatemiyoun and the Taliban for its interests in Afghanistan and the region," said Ibrahim Rahimi, the director of the Commission of the National Cohesion of Political Parties, Social Organisations and Civil Society Institutions in Kabul.

"Iran has provided financial and military support to groups involved in wars in Afghanistan in the past 40 years in an effort to help install its puppet regime in Afghanistan, and now, with concurrent support to Fatemiyoun and the Taliban, it wants to achieve this goal," Rahimi said.

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One thinking nurtured wrongly in our people, and now it is changing. While comparing Pakistan and India, our people thought that Pakistan is a country of Islam and Muslims, and India is a country of Hindus, so if fighting and quarrel occur, we have to stand beside Pakistan and support it; however, it is completely wrong because the number of Muslims living in India is same as those living in Pakistan. The second topic is America and Iran. A number of our people think that Iran is an Islamic and America is a non-Islamic country; however, we have to know that Iran and Pakistan both jointly destroyed Afghanistan's former equipped national army and other military installations, while America and European countries rebuild our national army, police and other military installations, and trained a large number of officers and pilots.

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It is strange that since the past 18 years, the security officials of Herat, Farah, Nimroz and Helmand have been telling the world and the United States about Iran's interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan as well as equipping and financing Taliban for killing Americans and the Afghan security forces by showing solid and reliable evidence through national and international media outlets, but America was deaf and blind. What happened now that the United States is repeating the words of the Afghan security forces after eighteen years? The US government is not a good friend and should not be trusted. Only national unity can free the Afghan nation from the needs of the United States and the world.

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It is completely true that Iran provides money to Taliban to kill American soldiers because Iran is an enemy of America, and Iran cannot take revenge from its enemy in America. Iran can easily undermine America in Afghanistan by using Afghans. Iran spends only money. Neither their army men are killed nor their civilians are killed. It is useful for Iran either if Taliban are killed or American army men are killed; Iran is pleased by killing both of them.

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Afghanistan has turned into a battleground for the proxy wars of the countries of the region. All the countries want to launch their competitions or rivalries in Afghanistan. The victims of this war are not the people of the United States, Russia, or Iran, but the victims of these rivalries are the oppressed and poor people of Afghanistan. A strong government must be formed in Afghanistan to prevent these proxy wars and not allow anyone to attack any country or people from the territory of Afghanistan.

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These reports are ridiculous. What was Taliban’s war for during the last twenty years? The war was against Americans. Wouldn't Taliban kill American soldiers if Iran or Russia did not pay them money? In the past two decades, Taliban’s effort was to defeat the United States in Afghanistan and force the United States out of Afghanistan, and Taliban finally succeeded to kick the United States out of Afghanistan. And after Taliban signed a peace agreement with the United States, they have not killed any American soldier yet. Do you think Taliban will kill American soldiers now if Russia and Iran give them money? Of course not. There is no doubt that Taliban received money from countries of the region, including Russia and Iran to fund their finding resources. This money was not just for killing of American soldiers. The money was to force the United States withdraw from Afghanistan because the interests of some countries, such as Russia and Iran required withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan. So the release of such reports by the intelligence agencies are baseless and will make the situation more deteriorated in Afghanistan. Now a small opportunity for peace has been provided in Afghanistan. If the United States begin war against Taliban again, the situation of Afghanistan will get worse than before. The war in Afghanistan has no military solution. Efforts should be made in order to ensure peace.

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