Iran reportedly stepping up shipments of arms, cash to Taliban
The Iranian government reportedly has stepped up shipments of weapons and money to the Taliban in Afghanistan in recent months.
According to The Wall Street Journal, which cited Afghan and Western officials in its report, Iran’s motivations for stepping up support for the militants are to prevent ISIS from gaining a foothold in Afghanistan and providing a check on U.S. influence ahead of the planned withdrawal of most American troops by the end of 2016.
The report quotes a Taliban fighter as saying that the militants receive weapons from smugglers paid by Iran’s government who traffic the contraband through the remote border region where Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan meet. Among the weapons Taliban units allegedly receive are mortars, machine guns, rifles, and rocket-propelled grenades.
Iran has repeatedly denied providing financial or military aid to the Taliban. No Iranian officials immediately commented on the Journal’s report.