U.S. Gov’t Propagandists Who Created Iraq-fiasco Now Plan for Iran
Posted by Arroyoribera on September 24, 2007
|Not only does former Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan and now the deputy United Nations representative to Kabul Chris Alexander contradict Bush administration claims about Iran, Afghan President Hamid Karzai praised Iran for assisting in combating the opium trade and accused US ally Pakistan of being the source of weapons to the Taliban.
Monday » September 24, 2007
UN diplomat rejects claims that Iran is arming Taliban
MONTREAL – A top United Nations diplomat is dismissing claims from the Bush administration that Iran is supplying weapons to the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.
The allegations of Iranian meddling in Afghanistan first surfaced in June, and gained momentum with senior U.S. intelligence and military officials accusing Iran of officially endorsing the shipment of armaments across its eastern border. If true, the implications for Canadian troops in Afghanistan would be serious, Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier said.
Asked whether the UN has seen any evidence of Iranian weaponry reaching the Taliban insurgency, Chris Alexander, the deputy United Nations representative to Kabul, told CanWest News Service: “None. It’s the other border across which arms and weapons principally arrive.”
Alexander was referring to Pakistan, Afghanistan’s eastern neighbour.
A reconstituted Taliban and al-Qaeda insurgency is believed to be using Pakistan to mount a renewed guerrilla insurgency in the past year and a half that has severely challenged Canada and its NATO allies in southern Afghanistan.
“We are, quite frankly, trying to encourage everyone to recommit to having a sense of proportion, to putting the reality of the insecurity of Afghanistan into proportion. That means not saying that Iran is the principle source of arms shipments to the Taliban. That’s simply not true,” said Alexander, previously Canada’s first ambassador to Afghanistan in 2003, after the fall of the Taliban two years earlier.
Alexander noted that Iran actually opposes the Taliban and has signed on as an international development partner that is committed to rebuilding Afghanistan, contributing tens of millions of dollars of aid to the country.
Some 70 Canadian soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan, more than half from roadside bombs.
On Sunday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai praised Iran as an ally in the fight against the rampant opium trade that plagues his country.
“It’s an important area between us and Iran,” Karzai said, noting that 3,000 Iranian security forces have lost their lives combating the drug trade.
U.S. President George W. Bush tried to persuade Karzai during a visit to Washington last month that the Iranians are “not a force for good as far as we can see,” telling the Afghan president “they’re a destabilizing influence wherever they are.”
Karzai said little in his appearance with Bush. But before arriving in Washington, he told CNN’s Late Edition in an interview, “we have had, very good, very close relations” with Iran and that “so far, Iran has been a helper and a solution.”
Bush’s comments came as U.S. military and intelligence officials have begun building a case that Iran is backing insurgents inside Afghanistan.
In Ottawa, the federal government has no additional corroboration beyond the initial reports of negative Iranian influence in Afghanistan, but if true, they would have serious implications for Canadians on the ground there, said Bernier, Canada’s new foreign minister.
“We’re deeply concerned about that,” Bernier told CanWest News Service in an interview. “If it’s true, such support will directly endanger the lives of Canadians and international forces and aid workers.”
Asked if he had any information to substantiate the allegation against Iran, Bernier said he “didn’t have any more detail on that.”
Bernier added he was “surprised and concerned” about the reports because Iran is a signatory to last year’s Afghanistan Compact, the document that lays out the international community’s commitment to rebuilding Afghanistan.