March 23rd, 2010
09:29 AM ET

U.S. officials: Iran training Taliban within its borders

Iran is helping train Taliban fighters within its borders, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials.

The United States has already said that the Taliban may be receiving limited training from the Iranians in Afghanistan, but the officials told CNN that training in the use of small arms was occurring within Iran.

"We've known for some time that Iran has been a source for both material and trained fighters for Taliban elements in Afghanistan," said Army Lt. Col. Edward Sholtis on Monday. But, he said, it is unknown whether that training is occurring with the support of Tehran, or it is "simply something that is happening beyond the government's control."

"For some years, Iran has supplied arms and munitions to the Afghan Taliban," said a U.S. intelligence official. "It has also helped conduct at least small-scale weapons training for the Taliban. There's reason to believe that some of this training has occurred in Iran."

The officials who spoke with CNN did not say how many Taliban fighters have been trained in Iran, or whether the training was sanctioned at the highest levels of the Iranian government.

Iran, which has always denied supporting the Taliban, said the training allegations were false.

An Iranian official at the United Nations said these are "...absolutely baseless and wrong allegations, and strongly rejected by the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in the region, has said Iran was aiding the Taliban within Afghanistan but that its role was limited in scope.

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soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. doe

    The people of iran are smart, and educated, they know that their actions define their future. America is over extended and has little interest in fighting another war. The fear of a nuclear war is the only reason that Iran and America have tensions. Iran is creating its own problem by trying to build longrange missiles and nukes. If you play with fire you get burned. They should focus on infrastructure instead. Look at south korea vs north korea. One is still in the dark ages because all they care about is war.

    April 4, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Retrolution

    Everyone thinks Americans want to be in the Middle East. No one wants to be in that rathole. Other than oil, nothing good has ever come out of that area and even that's not justification to go there. The climate, terrain, and people are not worth fighting over. I've been there and it's a terrible place. Humans were not meant to live in that environment. I say let them go back to the stone ages like they want. Keep America out of there and let themselves kill each other. Hell, Saddam Hussein had it right. He killed more Iraqis and Iranians than any American ever did. The biggest mistake America ever made was removing him from power. And as for Israel, GET OVER IT. Israel is a country now. Short of another war, they are not going anywhere. Either go to war with them or shut up. Nobody cares.

    April 5, 2010 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
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