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What the WikiLeaks Documents Say About Iran-al Qaeda

Intelligence reports pointing to collusion between the mullahs and al Qaeda are persistent.

12:00 AM, Jul 27, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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The deal was closed for an undetermined amount of money. The shipment of said weapons is expected shortly after the new year. Upon return from North Korea, Dr Amin stayed in Helmand and Hekmatyar went to Konar, Nuristan province.

Again, we don’t know if this actually happened. It is, of course, sensational. It would be interesting to see if there is corroborating evidence in the U.S. intelligence community’s files elsewhere.  

A June 3, 2006 threat report, based on an unidentified source, says that two Iranian agents have infiltrated Afghanistan under assumed identities. They were tasked with instigating “local AFG people into making propaganda against the AFG governmental authorities and [coalition force] members.” The same report explains:

Also they are helping HIG and TB members in carrying out terrorist attacks against the AFG governmental authorities and the [coalition force] members, especially against the American forces.

An October 20, 2006 threat report reads: “Separately, Iranians have reportedly provided support on the ground by organizing transports for injured people to TEHERAN, Iran.” The context of the report makes it clear that the “injured people” are Taliban members.

A document dated April 22, 2007 says the Afghan government wanted to keep a then recent discovery of Iranian arms quiet because of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s impending trip. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) wants to keep the issue of the Iranian-made weapons recently found in Kandahar under the radar screen in the lead up to the June visit of the Iranian President to Afghanistan.”

This is all too believable as Iranian arms are regularly discovered inside Afghanistan. American military officials have repeatedly said so. The WikiLeaks database contains dozens of references to Iranian arms found by ISAF.  

According to one document, not reported on by the Guardian, two American investigators visited the counterterrorism unit within Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry on December 30, 2007. The Afghans had rolled up a four-man terrorist cell a few days earlier after “receiv[ing] information that two suicide bombers were tasked by Taliban/Al-Qaeda leaders to come to LashKarGah City to carry out suicide attacks on high level officials and Coalition forces in the area. “ The Ministry of Interior (MOI) “placed the individuals under observation for several months and located their cache.” The Americans were allowed to inspect the would-be suicide bombers’ explosive vests and, after running some tests, found “a 92% probability of a match against a suspected sample of Iranian C4.”

That is, the suicide vests were almost certainly packed with explosives of Iranian provenance.

A September 2008 threat report derived from HUMINT (human intelligence) notes that seven Arabs and four Iranians had been seen in a village in Herat, Afghanistan. The document reads:

The seven Arabs are tied with AL MANSOUR, one of the OSAMA BIN LADEN Deputies. The Arabs are only in charge to carry out suicide attacks against U.S. and Italian troops or, secondarily, whatever foreigners [sic] personnel. The four Iranians belong to “Intelligence” unit of SEPAH-E-PASDARAN and they are supporting [the group] in the anti-ISAF/GIRoA actions through intelligence and as well coordinating the [group’s] activities.

If this is true, then Iranian intelligence is cooperating with al Qaeda in executing suicide attacks. Interestingly, the September 2008 report is consistent with the December 30, 2007 account because American investigators found strong evidence that Iranian explosives were being used in al Qaeda/Taliban suicide belts.

Look again at the sequence of documents discussed above. Over a span of several years, there were numerous reports of collaboration between Iran and al Qaeda. There are more in the documents released thus far. And there are undoubtedly more in the WikiLeaks files yet to come.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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