Newly released documents provide evidence of Iranian collaboration with the Taliban in October of 2001.
6:31 PM, Mar 8, 2006 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
There is no evidence in the newly released transcript that al Qaeda representatives attended the meeting in October 2001 in Herat. And the deposed governor pleads with the tribunal to "not accuse any of the Taliban as being al Qaeda." He also denies that there was any significant al Qaeda presence in Herat adding, "we would not do anything for al Qaeda."
But the detainee's denials ring hallow. Given what we know about al Qaeda's intimate relationship with the Taliban, Abu Musab al Zarqawi's training camps in Herat, and al Qaeda's history with Iran, it would behoove U.S. officials to press for additional information on the meeting, if they haven't already.
The importance of this allegation goes beyond understanding Iran's past behavior. Currently, some analysts assume that fear of U.S. retribution limits Iranian interference in Iraq and support for al Qaeda. But if Iran's leadership agreed to set aside its differences with the Taliban in order to stymie American operations against al Qaeda, then such assumptions are clearly no longer valid.
Thomas Joscelyn is an economist and writer living in New York.