The Associated Press, May 9, 2007
Britain says Iran may be helping Taliban forces in Afghanistan
"Regionally, an Afghanistan which is not a failed state and has a reduced drugs economy is in the strategic interest of all these countries."
LONDON - Britain's defense minister said Tuesday there was some indication that Iran may be helping Taliban forces fighting NATO troops in Afghanistan.
Defense Secretary Des Browne said that, in other respects, Iran was playing a positive role in the region.
Gen. Peter Pace: "It is not as clear in Afghanistan which Iranian entity is responsible, but we have intercepted weapons in Afghanistan headed for the Taliban that were made in Iran."
Associated Press, April 17, 2007
Britain and the United States have accused elements within the Iranian regime of aiding insurgents in Iraq, and Browne told the House of Commons Defense Committee that Tehran might be playing a similar role in Afghanistan.
"Demonstrably they have sought confrontation by proxy with us and the United States and other NATO members elsewhere in the region, and there is some indication that they are doing the same in Afghanistan," he said, without elaborating.
Browne said that, in other ways, Iran was playing a positive role, providing investment and sealing its border with Afghanistan to cut off the flow of illegal drugs.
"This is a complex environment," he said. "Regionally, an Afghanistan which is not a failed state and has a reduced drugs economy is in the strategic interest of all these countries."
Britain has several thousand troops in Afghanistan, most based in the volatile southern province of Helmand. Earlier this year, Browne announced plans to boost troop levels in Afghanistan to around 7,700 while reducing the number in Iraq from 7,000 to about 5,500.
Characters Count: 1880