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Iran Boosting Taliban With Arms and Money, Increasing Its Influence in Afghanistan

Iran is sending arms and money to support the Taliban in Afghanistan, The Wall Street Journal reported (Google link) Thursday.

Afghan and Western officials say Tehran has quietly increased its supply of weapons, ammunition and funding to the Taliban, and is now recruiting and training their fighters, posing a new threat to Afghanistan’s fragile security.

Iran’s strategy in backing the Taliban is twofold, these officials say: countering U.S. influence in the region and providing a counterweight to Islamic State’s move into the Taliban’s territory in Afghanistan. …

“Iran is betting on the re-emergence of the Taliban,” said a Western diplomat. “They are uncertain about where Afghanistan is heading right now, so they are hedging their bets.”

While the Taliban is an extreme Sunni movement, Iran has supported other similar movements when it has suited its purposes. Iran has worked with Al Qaeda against American interests since 2007. Earlier this month, the United States accused Syria, Iran’s client, of helping the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In Meet the Proxies: How Iran Spreads Its Empire through Terrorist Militias, which was published in the March 2015 issue of The Tower Magazine, David Daoud explained the role that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force plays in spreading Iran’s revolution.

Tehran coordinates and provides a wide array of support and aid to its proxies, mainly through the IRGC-QF and its commander, Qassem Suleimani. It seems important, then, to recall that the U.S. Treasury Department has designated the IRGC-QF and its commander for activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and support for terrorism, accusing the Quds Force in 2007 of providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist groups. The Justice Department cited the group as “conduct[ing] sensitive covert operations abroad, including terrorist attacks, assassinations and kidnappings, and is believed to sponsor attacks against Coalition Forces in Iraq.”

[Photo: ali javid / YouTube ]