2 years, 12 months ago
The Telegraph has the story.
British Special Forces in Afghanistan have seized a convoy of powerful Iranian rockets destined for Taliban fighters.
The haul is the strongest evidence yet of a significant escalation in Tehran’s support for the Taliban, military officials said.
The consignment of 48 rockets hidden in three trucks was intercepted last month after a fierce fire fight which left several insurgents dead in the remote southern province of Nimroz, bordering Iran.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said the British ambassador has raised the matter with officials in Tehran.
“I am extremely concerned by the latest evidence that Iran continues to supply the Taliban with weaponry – weapons clearly intended to provide the Taleban with the capability to kill Afghan and ISAF soldiers from significant range,” he said.
“It is not the behaviour of a responsible neighbour. It is at odds with Iran’s claim to the international community and to its own people that it supports stability and security in Afghanistan.”
The 122mm rockets have twice the range and twice the blast radius of the Taliban’s more commonly used 107mm missiles and have not been seen in action against Nato forces for the past four years.
The 48 weapons had been deliberately disguised to appear manufactured elsewhere, but tests by weapons experts had determined they were from an Iranian factory.
So let me make sure that I understand this. British SAS nab a convoy of three trucks shortly after they cross into Afghanistan from Iran carrying a load of potent rockets for use against U.S. and allied forces. Last time I checked, Iran does not have wide open borders where any sympathetic, Iranian, Taliban-lover could decide to truck in a load of 122mm rockets on a whim. The rockets came from the mullahs and their henchmen, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. No two ways about it. Yet the article phrases this as, “the strongest evidence yet of a significant escalation in Tehran’s support for the Taliban…” This is not “evidence” of anything. It is the proverbial smoking gun. It is both hands in the cookie jar, crumbs all over the face, cookie sticking out of the mouth. And, so far, the most strident statement comes from the British Foreign Secretary, to wit: good neighbors do not send 122mm rockets across the border.
Here is an account published in Yahoo News! of the same incident which provides additional details:
The shipment is seen as a serious escalation in Iran’s state support of the Taliban insurgency, according to NATO officials and described in detail by an international intelligence official.
It’s also an escalation in the proxy war Western officials say Iran is waging against U.S. and other Western forces in Afghanistan, as Washington continues to lobby for tougher international sanctions against Tehran to dissuade it from its alleged goal of building nuclear weapons.
Fascinating. This is a “serious escalation” of Iran’s “proxy war…against U.S. and other Western forces…” Yes, indeed. It seems to be accepted that Iran is waging a proxy war against us. Afterall, the U.S. is not blameless. We are hurting Iran, lobbying “for tougher international sanctions” that do nothing to stop their nuke program but, on the other hand, no doubt hurt their feelings very much.
The article goes on to note that the Taliban are not happy with the common weapons and ammunition being provided by the mullahs:
In a separate development, the intelligence official said a high-level Afghan Taliban leader had travelled to Iran in the past two weeks to meet with a top Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force leader to ask for more powerful weapons to attack Afghan and NATO troops in the spring and summer fighting season.
In the alleged meeting with the Quds Force, the Taliban leader is believed to have asked the Iranians to provide more shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile systems, such as the two Iran provided in 2007, which were used against one British and one U.S. Chinook helicopter, the official said. But Iran has not provided such weapons since, sticking to the smaller 107-millimeter rockets, C4 plastic explosives that have been used in some improvised explosive devices here, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms like AK47 assault rifles, the official said.
Good to know that the IRG has some limits on what types of weaponry they will and will not furnish for the express purpose of killing Americans. Of course, we assume that the IRG has not “provided such weapons since…” How can we know for sure? Maybe the IRG sent our Afghan commanders a small note: sorry about those AA missiles, guys. Just kidding around with you!
What sort of response has this “escalation” earned the regime in Tehran? (A regime, mind you, that is incomparably more brutal and bloodthirsty than the Libyan regime that Obama recently said had lost its right to rule).
If one our readers can provide a link or quote to an official White House or State Department response to this latest outrage, I will gladly update this post. I have yet to find one. This is perfectly consistent with an Administration that, over and over again, is voting “present” on every, major foreign policy issue.
Iranian uprising in 2009? Sorry, can’t meddle. Don’t want to be seen intruding on the internal affairs of the bloodthirsty tyrants in Tehran.
Overthrow of autocracy in Tunisia? Missed that one. Sorry. Busy getting a Slurpee or something.
Riots in Egypt? Well, um, some of us think Mubarak is a swell guy and others think he has to go, but not yet, eventually, maybe, and probably soon if it looks like the protesters are actually going to succeed.
Revolt in Libya? We’re thinking….long and hard. Yes, Qaddafi should step down, but we are not prepared to help in any meaningful way, regardless of the slaughter.
And here we have the latest outrage from the Dictators in Tehran, caught red-handed providing rockets to the Taliban (and entertaining Taliban officials with weapons shopping lists) and the Administration has no response.
But cheer up. Our recently-demoted to second-class-ally-status Brits are going to have a word with the Iranian ambassador. Terrific.
How much lower can we sink?