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Obama's Iran Fantasy

They are not on our side in Afghanistan.

Aug 16, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 45 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES and THOMAS JOSCELYN
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Iran is at war with the United States in Afghanistan. Documents released as part of the Wikileaks dump show that U.S. commanders receive regular reports of collusion between the Iranians, al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) Islamist group. The Iranians arm, train, shelter, and fund the jihadists.

Obama's Iran Fantasy

A February 7, 2005, threat report describes how the “Iranian Intelligence agencies brought 10 million Afghanis (approximately $212,800)” into Afghanistan to fund jihadists. A February 18, 2005, report says that a group of Taliban leaders living in Iran are orchestrating attacks against Coalition forces: “The Iranian government has offered each member of the group 100,000 Rupees ($1,740) for any [Afghan] soldier killed and 200,000 Rupees ($3,481) for any [government] official.” A June 3, 2006, threat report says that two Iranian agents “are helping HIG and [Taliban] members in carrying out terrorist attacks against the AFG governmental authorities and the [coalition force] members, especially against the American forces.”

A document dated December 30, 2007, details an investigation into a suicide bomb cell that was “tasked by Taliban/al-Qaeda leaders .  .  . to carry out suicide attacks on high level officials and Coalition forces in the area.” Two American investigators inspected the would-be suicide bombers’ explosive vests and found “a 92% probability of a match against a suspected sample of Iranian C4.” 

A September 2008 threat report says that a group of Arabs tied to one of Osama bin Laden’s deputies was planning “to carry out suicide attacks against U.S. and Italian troops” or any foreign personnel in the area. The suicide bomber cell received assistance from “four Iranians” who work for Iran’s intelligence service and “are supporting [the cell] .  .  .
through intelligence” and “coordinating the activities.”

Such support continues. Last week, on August 2, U.S. and Afghan security forces conducted a nighttime raid of a compound in the Arghandab district of Kandahar, seeking “a major Taliban facilitator involved in the transportation of narcotics and munitions, including suicide improvised explosive device material between Iran and southern Afghanistan.” Several suspected insurgents were detained.

In separate incidents two days later in the Farah province, which shares a border with Iran, Afghan and Coalition forces killed two Taliban facilitators of foreign fighters—each carrying automatic weapons and large amounts of Iranian money. Colonel Rafael Torres, a Coalition spokesman, noted that ongoing external support for the Taliban “only brings instability and peril to the Afghan people.”

That same day, a conversation some 7,000 miles west of Kandahar reflected a completely different reality. In a briefing for a small group of reporters, President Obama said that the United States and Iran had a “mutual interest” in fighting the Taliban. According to the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, who attended the meeting, Obama proposed new talks with Iran on the future of Afghanistan, separate from the administration’s diplomatic efforts on Iran’s nuclear program. Obama told reporters that Iran “could be a constructive partner” with the United States in creating a stable Afghanistan.

This is complete fantasy. The next day the State Department issued the U.S. government’s annual report on global terrorism, declaring that Iran “remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism” in the world in 2009:

Iran’s Qods Force provided training to the Taliban in Afghanistan on small unit tactics, small arms, explosives, and indirect fire weapons. Since at least 2006, Iran has arranged arms shipments to select Taliban members, including small arms and associated ammunition, rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, 107mm rockets, and plastic explosives.

This vital assistance to terrorists fighting Americans comes not from some rogue military or intelligence group, but at the direction of Iran’s leaders—our would-be partners. As then-CIA director Michael Hayden put it in 2008: “It is the policy of the Iranian government, approved to the highest levels of that government, to facilitate the killing of Americans in Iraq.” The same is true in Afghanistan.

If President Obama was having trouble understanding that a regime at war with us in Afghanistan is unlikely to partner with us there, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad provided a not-so-friendly reminder the day after Obama’s new peace offering. Ahmadinejad hosted Afghan president Hamid Karzai in Tehran and declared that their two nations, together with Tajikistan, could form an alliance that would serve as a bulwark against Western influence in the region. 

Some partner. 

—Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn

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