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Iran boosts Taliban's artillery

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Iran boosts Taliban's artillery
Article from:   The Australian

IRAN is supplying the Taliban in Afghanistan with surface-to-air missiles capable of destroying a helicopter, according to US intelligence sources.

They believe the Taliban want to use the SA-14 Gremlin missiles to launch a "spectacular" attack against coalition forces in Helmand in the southwest of the country, where insurgents claim to be gaining the upper hand.

Although coalition helicopters operating in southern Afghanistan are equipped with defensive systems to deflect an attempted strike, the SA-14 can evade such counter-measures.

It was a shoulder-held SA-14 supplied by Iran that Iraqi insurgents used to shoot down a Lynx helicopter over Basra in May 2006. Five British service personnel died in that attack, including Wing Commander John Coxen and Flight Lieutenant Sarah-Jayne Mulvihill, the first British servicewoman killed in action since World War II.

Although the Iranians are not natural supporters of the Taliban, they have been willing to assist them in the past to prevent Britain and the US gaining influence in the region. Special forces have previously intercepted arms shipments from Iran that would have helped the Taliban intensify a roadside bombing campaign that has killed coalition troops over the past 18 months.

However, coalition forces became aware of the presence of SA-14s only two weeks ago when parts from two of them were discovered during a US operation in western Afghanistan.

"The weapons are out there and we thought it was only a matter of time before they got one or two into the south," said a defence source. "A Taliban spectacular against British or American troops would reinforce an increasing view among ordinary Afghans that the Taliban are gaining the upper hand."

In the past eight months, small arms and rocket-propelled grenade attacks on British helicopters in Helmand have increased.

Reports of the Iranian involvement in Afghanistan came as Pakistan yesterday said it had forced Taliban militants out of Bajaur, one of Pakistan's seven federally administered tribal areas along the Afghan border, and boasted of major gains in another border region.

The six-month battle with Islamist insurgents in the remote Bajaur district was seen as pivotal to Pakistan's fight against al-Qa'ida and the Taliban, after bombings killed more than 1600 people in the area in less than two years.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan's Government launched the Bajaur offensive in August amid heavy criticism from US and Afghan officials, who said Islamabad was not doing enough to stop militants crossing into Afghanistan to attack foreign troops.

Heavy artillery and helicopter gunships have pounded Bajaur in a bid to flush out militant bases, killing hundreds. "We think that we have secured this agency (district)," said Major General Tariq Khan, the commander of Pakistani forces fighting in Bajaur. "They have lost. They have lost their cohesion out here."

A Pakistani army colonel said the military had also beaten back militants in the neighbouring tribal area of Mohmand, also on the Afghan border, where security forces have been waging lower-level offensives.

Pakistan is facing increased US pressure to clamp down on militant hideouts, with US President Barack Obama deploying an extra 17,000 troops to Afghanistan as part of a major shift in its action against global terrorist networks from Iraq to south Asia.

There was no independent verification of the Bajaur victory, but the Taliban see the district as a key strategic district they cannot afford to lose, analysts have said. To the east is Swat, where the Taliban have called an indefinite ceasefire, while on the Afghan side is a long frontier with the Taliban hotspot of Kunar province.

The Sunday Times, AFP


shawn a:
Just one more reason to confront iran vigorously concerning their moronic, unthinking stance toward world domination of a religion.
Shawn A

With our current President I doubt he'll make Pakistan be held accountable never mind take out a future and very real threat brewing in Iran. 

For me at least I'm not surprise the three most dangerous terrorist supporting countries all have connecting borders. 

I think all aid for Pakistan should be ended at once for the bad job Pakistan's government is doing.  Giving the very group that's causing such harm in their own country a safe area.  They are just regrouping basically while Pakistan's government and military are doing nothing.   

I'm shocked at the planned aide to Pakistan I had about enough of their useless government playing both sides.

Iran is a bad situation it's like the dentist the longer you don't go or do anything about it the more it's going to hurt.   

rockymartin21 - Welcome to the forum thanks for posting.

The way this is going, I have to play the devil's advocate...

Before the US stepped in, Iran came actually pretty close to a conflict with the Taliban. I am not surprised that factions inside Iran would try to aid their extremist Muslim brothers, the state of Iran supporting the Taliban would surprise me. But the report doesn't give any details, and I suppose US intelligence services don't give a sh*t anyway as Iran is already a target. I suppose they haven't learned a thing from the WMD/Iraq thing?

Start a war with Iran and loads of weapons will be flowing in all directions!

Actually those SA-14s might be originating from Iraq...


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