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ISI, Iran intel helping Taliban in Afghan war: US commander

September 22, 2009 16:17 IST

Factions of the Pakistani and Iranian intelligence agencies have been supporting the Taliban and other terrorist groups to carry out attacks on the US-led international forces in Afghanistan, according to a top US commander in the restive country.

General Stanley McChrystal, commander of the US and the  North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan, informed the White House that factions of the Pakistani and Iranian spy agencies are supporting the Taliban and other terrorist groups that carry out attacks on the US-led Nato forces in the country, a leading American daily reported today.

In a detailed analysis of the military situation in the restive country delivered to the White House earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times, said General McChrystal singled out ISI of Pakistan and Quds Forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in helping the Taliban.

"Afghanistan's insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan," McChrystal wrote, adding that senior leaders of the major Taliban groups are "reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan's ISI", the newspaper said, referring to the classified version of the report. A declassified version was published on Sunday on the website of The Washington Post.

"McChrystal's comments are the first public indication in months that the United States continues to see signs of ISI support for insurgent groups," the Los Angeles Times said.

According to the declassified version of the report posted on The Washington Post website, McChrystal said that while most of the insurgent fighters are Afghans, they are directed by a small number of Afghan senior leaders based in Pakistan that work through an alternative political infrastructure in the restive country.

"They are aided by foreign fighters, elements of some intelligence agencies, and international funding, resources, and training. Foreign fighters provide material, expertise, and ideological commitment," the report said.

McChrystal said Afghanistan's insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan.

"Senior leaders of the major Afghan insurgent groups are based in Pakistan, are linked with Al Qaeda and other violent extremist groups, and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan's lSI," he underlined.

He said the Al Qaeda and associated movements (AQAM) based in Pakistan "channel foreign fighters, suicide bombers, and technical assistance into Afghanistan, and offer ideological motivation, training, and financial support".

Iran, the report said, plays an ambiguous role in Afghanistan, providing developmental assistance and political support to Afghanistan while the Iranian Quds Force is reportedly training fighters for certain Taliban groups and providing other forms of military assistance to insurgents.

"Iran's current policies and actions do not pose a short-term threat to the mission, but Iran has the capability to threaten the mission in the future," he said.

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