Thomas Joscelyn reported on the State Department's Country Reports on Terrorism for 2009, and noted Iran's support for terrorist groups, including the Taliban in Afghanistan. Just two days prior to Foggy Bottom's long-delayed report, the U.S. Treasury Department designated two top officers in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps's Qods Force as specially designated global terrorists for aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan. From the Treasury press release:
- RGC-QF General Hossein Musavi is Commander of the IRGC-QF Ansar Corps, whose responsibilities include IRGC-QF activities in Afghanistan. As Ansar Corps Commander, Musavi has provided financial and material support to the Taliban.
-In his capacity as an IRGC-QF senior officer, Colonel Hasan Mortezavi provides financial and material support to the Taliban.
The IRGC is tasked with defending the Islamic Revolution inside Iran while exporting the radical ideology to neighboring countries and worldwide. Qods Force serves as the IRGC's external special operations branch.
It's no secret that Qods Force backs the Taliban. The U.S. has been targeting Taliban commanders who receive weapons, cash, and other support from Qods Force for years (see here). On July 16, the U.S. military killed one of them in Farah, and another was killed late last year. Lest the Iran-Taliban links be dismissed as a U.S. military fantasy to demonize Iran, Taliban commanders have admitted to receiving Iranian support, despite theological differences:
In March 2010, a Taliban commander admitted that Iran has been training teams of Taliban fighters in small unit tactics. "Our religions and our histories are different, but our target is the same — we both want to kill Americans," the commander told The Sunday Times, rebutting the common analysis that Shia Iran and Sunni al Qaeda could not cooperate due to ideological differences.