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Iran aiding Afghan rebels: ISAF

Iran aiding Afghan rebels: ISAF

Mar 07, 2011 - 16:38

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The NATOinfo-icon-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAFinfo-icon) on Monday claimed to have evidence that Afghan militants were receiving support from neighbouring Iran.

"I can say that some elements in Iran are aiding the insurgents in Afghanistaninfo-icon," ISAF spokesman, Gen. Joseph Blotz, told a news conference in Kabul. However, he stopped short of giving details.

The Iranian embassy in Kabul, which was repeatedly approached for comment on the allegation, refused to say anything. 

On Feb. 28, ISAF Deputy Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Gregory Smith alleged that Iran, through different networks along the border areas, supplied explosive materials and rocket-propelled grenade launchers to Talibaninfo-icon fighters.

Asked about mounting civilian casualties in NATO-led operations, Blotz said the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, had directed foreign troops to exercise maximum caution to spare civilians.

A day earlier, President Hamid Karzai said civilian deaths in ISAF operations were intolerable and a public apology by Petraeus was not enough to placate angry Afghans.

"The main problem between Afghanistan and the US is civilian casualties and saying sorry will not work," Karzai told a National Security Council meeting at the Presidential Palace on Sunday.

Seventy-four civilians, including children and womeninfo-icon, were killed during coalition airstrikes last month in eastern Kunar province. The deaths were strongly condemned by Karzai and Afghan Parliament. On Saturday, Petraeus issued a rare public apology.

With regard to cross-border incursions into Goshta district of eastern Nangarhar province, Blotz said Petraeus had spoken to the Pakistaninfo-icon army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani. The Pakistani chief of staff apologised for the attacks and promised such incidents would not recur, he added.

The attacks on Anargai area caused massive financial losses to the people, displacing hundreds of families, a spokesman for the interior ministry said. Goshta was attacked 16 times since Feb. 2, according to Zmaray Bashari.


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