Last Updated: Thu Aug 02, 2012 21:08 pm (KSA) 18:08 pm (GMT)

Iran allows Taliban to open office, considers supply of weapons

Increased Iranian support to Taliban marks a significant change in Tehran policy. (Reuters)
Increased Iranian support to Taliban marks a significant change in Tehran policy. (Reuters)

Iran has allowed a member of Taliban's “Shura”, or ruling council, to open an office in the eastern Iranian city of Zahedan in May, the Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday. The newspaper also said that Iran is considering to supply the Taliban with weapons.

According to the Telegraph, intercepted communications showed members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps discussing plans to send surface-to-air missiles to Afghanistan. However, there was no evidence that weapons have actually been dispatched.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague complained last year to Tehran after British soldiers seized a convoy carrying Iranian-manufactured rockets on its way to Taliban, and NATO commanders say Iran has long provided small arms and training to them.

But if those surface-to-air missiles were given to the Taliban then that would signify an escalation in Tehran support. While Iran's Shia regime has viewed the Sunni Taliban as an enemy when they ruled most of Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, the US is now seen as the bigger enemy.

“Iran is willing to put aside ideology and put aside deeply held religious values for their ultimate goal: accelerating the departure of US forces from Afghanistan,” a Western official in Kabul told the Wall Street Journal.

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