Pakistani Analysis of Reported Iran Arms for Taliban
The US military report that it intercepted a cache of Iranian arms intended for the Taliban was analyzed on the Pakistani television station, GEO, by regional experts. They found the idea that the Iranian government is sending arms to the Taliban implausible, but suggested other reasons for which the Taliban might get hold of Iranian weaponry.
The segment was translated by the USG Open Source Center.
|Pakistan: ‘Prominent’ Analyst Says Iran not Involved in Sending Arms to Taliban|
Discussion between Rustam Shah Momand, former Pakistan ambassador to Afghanistan and prominent Afghan affairs analyst, on telephone line and senior Pakistani journalist Kamran Khan in studio in Karachi on seizure of weapons consignment coming from Iran for Taliban–live; taken from regularly scheduled “Today with Kamran Khan” program; words within double slant lines are in English
Geo News TV
Thursday, April 19, 2007
(Kamran Khan) The US administration revealed that a big consignment of weapons, which actually belongs to Iran, has been seized and this consignment was being sent to Taliban (in Afghanistan) from Iran. This information was given by Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of US joint chief of staff, in Washington. While giving this information, Pace, however, said that the United States is still not sure as to which department of the Iranian government is helping Taliban and providing arms to Taliban. The United States had been earlier insisting that Shi’ite extremists in Iraq are receiving aid from Iran and a big //source// of attacks on the US troops in Iraq is Iran. But so far the United States has never held Iran responsible for spreading insurgency in Afghanistan and the charge of helping Taliban had only been made against Pakistan. This is the first time that Iran has been charged (with helping Taliban).
We would try to know the //importance// of the US allegation. We have with us on telephone line Rustam Shah Momand, former Pakistan ambassador to Afghanistan and prominent Afghan affairs analyst.
Peace be upon you, Momand.
(Momand) Peace be upon you too.
(Khan) Momand, is it surprising to you that the US administration, rather head of US armed forces, is claiming that a consignment of //Iranian-made// weapons which was being delivered to Taliban from Iran has been seized?
(Momand) The claim is both surprising and not surprising because Afghanistan like Iraq is such a region and country where the interests of United States and Iran are not in conflict or in confrontation with each other. (Sentence as heard) This is one point. Secondly, as far as sending of this consignment of weapons is concerned, it is possible that the Iranian government may have not been involved, but there is a possibility that this business must have been going on in //private sector//. The situation, in fact, is that the Taliban face acute shortage of resources and they have been continuing their operations in last 4 to 5 years, especially in last 1 year, by procuring //cheap// weapons from small or big sources. I, therefore, believe that as the (Taliban) //resistance// near the Afghanistan’s westerner border with Iran is expanding to a great extent and this area cannot be //supplied//from any other area, eventually the Taliban will buy weapons from Iran in small//quantities// and bring it to Afghanistan. As you know the //narcotics smuggling// from Afghanistan to Iran is taking place on large-scale at Afghanistan-Iran border. If the narcotics smuggling is taking place, weapons can also be smuggled, but the Iranian government itself will not be involved in it.
(Khan) Momand, the reason (for the Iranian government not directly helping Taliban) may be because of ideological and religious conflict between Iran and Taliban. When //change of government// took place (in Afghanistan) after the fall of Taliban government engineered by the United States with the help and //support// of the Northern Alliance, Iran had fully supported that process and //indirectly// helped the United States in ousting the Taliban government.
(Momand) Not only that, the United States fully cooperated with the organizations which were working in Afghanistan and which were considered very close to Iran. Rather, and more than that, those Afghan organizations, those political parties, (close to Iran) were given the representation in the cabinet and parliament in //disproportionate// to their //following// in Afghanistan. That could not have happened without the United States desire. That is why I earlier urged that there is no conflict of interest between the United States and Iran in Afghanistan and that is why I do not believe that there is a possibility of any kind of //direct involvement// of the Iranian government in sending of arms consignment. But it is possible that the consignment was purchased from the traders or //smugglers//, whatever they may be called, which was, perhaps, seized and which the elements involved in Afghanistan //resistance// wanted to use.
(Khan) Thank you very much. Rustam Shah Momand, former Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan, was commenting on the statement by Gen. Peter Pace, chief of US joint chief of staff, that a big consignment of weapons has been seized in Afghanistan which was Iranian-made and was being sent to Taliban from Iran.
(Description of Source: Karachi Geo News TV in Urdu)