What was that about unclenched fists again? CBS reports that Iran has stepped up its cooperation with the Taliban in Afghanistan, in both money and weapons. However, the White House has muzzled the military from speaking about it:
U.S. military officials have told CBS News that Iran is sending money and weapons onto the Afghan battlefield. But U.S. commanders are not allowed to comment publicly and it’s unclear to them what the U.S. strategy is for dealing with Iran’s increasingly deadly involvement.
The deadliest form of roadside bomb on the Iraqi battlefield – explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) – is now being found in Afghanistan.
Lethal armor piercing bombs that can slice through U.S. humvees are also an Iranian specialty.
More worrying still: U.S. intelligence believes Iran is supplying surface to air missiles to the Taliban – the very same weapon the U.S. supplied to the Afghan resistance to bring down the Russians.
Why does the White House want the military to keep quiet about Iranian connections to the Taliban? They want to keep enough political support in the US for direct talks with the mullahs. That support will evaporate if the military starts drawing clear connections between Tehran and the Taliban, especially with al-Qaeda as its ally in Pakistan.
This also puts to rest one of the silliest assertions of the war on terror, which is that Sunni and Shi’a radicals hate each other so much that they won’t partner with each other against the West. Shi’ite Iran has funded Hamas for years, which is primarily a Sunni radical group (Hezbollah is primarly Shi’ite). The Taliban are Sunni, as is the leadership of al-Qaeda, but they share a common enemy in the West, especially the US and Israel. Iran has every reason to support the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the fight against the NATO alliance as a means of weakening our position and strengthening the hands of Islamist radicals, no matter what sect they follow.
Iran sits at the nexus of radical Islamist terrorism, and has since its 1979 revolution. Obama may want to hush the military to keep that “secret,” but all it does is make the US look weak and ignorant. We should have pushed harder this summer to assist those in Iran who wanted freedom from the radical mullahs instead of giving the mullahs more legitimacy.