Iran Daily: Tehran Denies Support of Taliban in Afghanistan

An Afghan policeman in Farah Province, where Taliban carried out three-week siege in October 2016 (Bryan Denton/New York Times) There are growing indications that Iran is providing increasing, covert assistance to the Afghan Taliban. In Farah province, where the flow of water from Afghanistan into Iran is an important source for Iranian agriculture, a recent push by Taliban insurgents that came to the gates of the provinces capital is seen by some local officials as a destabilizing action supported by Iran in part to ensure that the long planned Bakhshabad damn project, which is overwhelmingly popular among Afghan residents of Farah, but unpopular in neighboring Iran. The situation is complicated by Afghanistan's economic relationship with Iran, which is one of it's largest trading partners, particularly in western provinces such as Herat and Farah. Where Iranian goods, and influence, are both prominent. Credit: Bryan Denton For The New York Times 30206056A NYTCREDIT: Bryan Denton for The New York Times

Iran has rejected claims that it is supporting the Taliban — whom Tehran once fiercely opposed — in Afghanistan.

The Iranian Embassy in Kabul on Tuesday dismissed remarks by the Saudi chargé d’affaires, Mishari al-Harbi, saying they were “baseless and groundless”:

The claim of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s support for armed groups inside Afghanistan made by a regime which had recognized the former Taliban government and still has broad links with various terrorist groups in the country and the entire region seems bizarre.

The Embassy said Iranian diplomats have been victims of “acts of violence and terror” in Afghanistan, citing a 1998 attack that killed eight personnel and a correspondent for the State outlet IRNA in 1998.

The statement tried to turn the Saudi claim back on Riyadh, saying the root causes of extremist and terrorist ideology in the region are “clear to all” with the pursuit of “wrong policies” by sponsors.

“Iranian Taliban”

Iran was once a determined foe of the Sunni Taliban, which attacked Shia communities in Afghanistan as it took control from 1996. After the 9-11 attacks, Tehran welcomed the US-supported operations to oust the Taliban from power in Kabul, as Iran gained influence in western Afghanistan, especially in the city of Herat.

However, Afghan officials have recently said that Iranian units accompanied the Taliban in attacks on Kabul’s security forces. They describe a three-week siege in Farah Province last October which was finally ended by US airstrikes. The officials say “four senior Iranian commandos” were among the dead, with the bodies of Taliban fighters also taken across the border into the Islamic Republic.

Mohammed Arif Shah Jehan, Farah Province’s governor and a senior intelligence official, says, “The regional politics have changed. The strongest Taliban here are Iranian Taliban.”

Last year Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, wanted by the US since before 2001, was killed in Pakistan after he returned from a trip to Iran where he met Iranian and Russian security officials.

Russia and Iran say meetings with the Taliban were only for information.

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  1. The messier the region the better for iranian bastard mullahs, and russia. That is the motivation. I guess they have to find a reason for the guards to be there and get killed, given that there is no sacred sites to defend in afghanistan…

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