Iran supplying Taliban with missiles, says Afghan official

Iran has supplied the Taliban with anti-aircraft missiles, the police chief of Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province said on Tuesday.

Iran has supplied Taliban fighters in Afghanistan’s western province of Farah with portable shoulder-fired air-defense systems known as MANPADS, General Muhammed Haya told Radio Azadi, the Afghan branch of the US government’s Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s external broadcast services.

“We have evidence that shows Iran is supplying the Taliban with weapons,” said Haya, adding that the Taliban are trying to transfer the weapons they received from Iran to Uruzgan.

Iran gave the Taliban these missiles so they can target the Afghan air force planes,” he said.

The Taliban had claimed on January 27 that it shot down a US military plane in Afghanistan’s Ghazni, killing all military personnel on board, including high-ranking officials.

The US military later denied that its plane was shot down.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is also providing financial support to the Taliban, Haya said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had previously accused Iran of using militant groups such as the Taliban to undermine Afghanistan peace efforts.

The Taliban condemned the US killing of prominent IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani last month. The terrorist organization described Soleimani as a “great warrior” in a statement.