U.S. Ambassador Says Iranians Still Helping Taliban Militants
December 17, 2009
KABUL -- Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan today that he continues to receive intelligence reports about "Iran or elements within Iran" providing weapons and training to Taliban militants who are fighting in Afghanistan.
Eikenberry described the support as "low level" and "periodic cooperation."
He also confirmed that General David Petraeus, the head of the U.S. military's Central Command, has reviewed the intelligence reports.
"General Petraeus has said that the scope of that support is nothing on the level of the support that was given previously, at one time, by Iran to various terrorist elements in Iraq," Eikenberry said.
"Still, the reports that continue to be received about this kind of low-level support and periodic cooperation between elements in Iran and militant extremist Taliban are disturbing and do not show good faith by [Afghanistan's] neighbor to the west."
Eikenberry also said there will be "very significant increases" in U.S. developmental assistance to Afghanistan during the next two years as part of President Barack Obama's new strategy there.
Eikenberry made the remarks from RFE/RL's bureau in Kabul during a live phone-in program that gave ordinary Afghans a chance to ask him questions.
Copyright (c) 2009. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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