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Afghan Foreign Minister Disputes Claim Iran Arming Taliban Militants

By VOA News
19 October 2007

Afghanistan's foreign minister says there is no evidence that Iran is supplying weapons to Taliban insurgents, despite U.S. claims.

Rangeen Dadfar Spanta made the remarks Friday in Herat, one day after the top commander of NATO forces said weapons intercepted in Afghanistan had originated in Iran.

U.S. Army General Dan McNeill said NATO forces stopped a convoy from Iran on September 5 in western Afghanistan. He said the convoy contained a number of advanced technology improvised explosive devices.

Afghan officials say the country's intelligence agency is investigating the source of sophisticated weapons used by Taliban insurgents, and says it has no proof they are coming from Iran.

Iran has also denied the allegations.

General McNeill said it is hard to believe that a shipment of hi-tech explosives could have originated in Iran and come to Afghanistan without the knowledge of the Iranian military.

U.S Defense Secretary Robert Gates has also said he believes members of the Taliban are getting help from Iran.

Taliban insurgents have increased their use of suicide and roadside bombs against foreign and Afghan troops.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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