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Iran supports the Taliban with weapons, training, and money, Pentagon report says
Iran continues to support the Taliban to counter U.S. influence in Afghanistan, a recent Defense Intelligence Agency report on Iran's military power says.
Iran's other goals in Afghanistan include combating ISIS-Khorasan and increasing its influence in any government that is formed as part of a political reconciliation of the warring sides, according to the report, which the Pentagon released on Tuesday.
"Tehran does not seek to return the Taliban to power but aims to maintain influence with the group as a hedge in the event that the Taliban gains a role in a future Afghan government," the report says.
Just as it does with its other proxies, Iran has provided the Taliban with financial support and training, a senior defense intelligence official said during a Pentagon news briefing about the DIA's Iran report.
The report itself does not delve into whether Iranian assistance to the Taliban is increasing or decreasing, the official told reporters on Tuesday.
Even though Iran and the Taliban nearly went to war in 1998, ties between both sides have warmed considerably since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the DIA report says.
"Iran has provided materiel support to the Taliban since at least 2007, when NATO forces intercepted a shipment of weapons from Iran destined for the Taliban," Navy Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said on Tuesday. "Iranian support has consisted of small arms, explosives, mortars, RPGs, heavy machine guns, and 107mm rockets, in addition to training in small unit tactics and the use of weapons systems."
Right now, the level of Iranian support to the Taliban is low, but Iran could ramp up its assistance if tensions with the United States escalate, a senior Afghan government official told Task & Purpose on Tuesday.
Iran's assistance to the Taliban has not been as intense or sustained as the support provided by Pakistan, said Michael Kugelman, an Afghanistan expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.
"Islamabad has gone much further, offering everything from sanctuary to medical treatment as well as military support," Kugelman told Task & Purpose. "That said, the Iranian support, while relatively modest, shouldn't be underestimated. Among other things, it helped Taliban forces launch a major offensive in Farah, an Afghan province bordering Iran."
A representative for the Iranian government could not be reached for comment.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued a statement denying that Iran or Pakistan has ever supported the group.
"Propaganda in this regard is a defamation effort that we have always categorically rejected," Mujahid told Task & Purpose. "Our struggle is proceeding with the support and backing of our own nation and we do not need the aid of foreign countries."
On May 31, a suicide car bomber attacked a U.S. convoy in Kabul, wounding four U.S. service members. Although the Taliban initially claimed responsibility for the incident, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later claimed the attack was part of an Iranian campaign against the United States and its allies.
Separately, the Defense Department estimates that Iran provided militants with weapons that killed 603 U.S. troops in Iraq from 2003 to 2011.
"These casualties were the result of explosively formed penetrators, other improvised explosive devices, improvised rocket-assisted munitions, rockets, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, small-arms, sniper, and other attacks in Iraq," Navy Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, told Task & Purpose on Aug. 3.
The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.
"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."
"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.
"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.
The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.
Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.
The Pentagon’s troop deployment denials means nothing when the White House screams ‘fake news’ all the time
The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.
We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."
"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"