Sunday, April 8, 2012

Iran stirs the pot in Afghanistan after Qur'an burnings

Thankfully their actions did not cause major problems, but the fact that they have their hands massaging Afghan jihadists should be of concern to everyone, especially the White House.  

Anyone?  Anyone at all?


From the New York Times April 4 by Thom Shanker, Eric Schmitt and Alissa Rubin

U.S. Sees Iran in Bids to Stir Unrest in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — Just hours after it was revealed that American soldiers had burned Korans seized at an Afghan detention center in late February, Iran secretly ordered its agents operating insideAfghanistan to exploit the anticipated public outrage by trying to instigate violent protests in the capital, Kabul, and across the western part of the country, according to American officials.

For the most part, the efforts by Iranian agents and local surrogates failed to provoke widespread or lasting unrest, the officials said. Yet with NATO governments preparing for the possibility of retaliation by Iran in the event of an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities, the issue of Iran’s willingness and ability to foment violence in Afghanistan and elsewhere has taken on added urgency.
With Iran’s motives and operational intentions a subject of intense interest, American officials have closely studied the episodes. A mixed picture of Iranian capabilities has emerged, according to interviews with more than a dozen government officials, most of whom discussed the risks on the condition of anonymity because their comments were based on intelligence reports.
One United States government official described the Iranian Embassy in Kabul as having “a very active” program of anti-American provocation, but it is not clear whether Iran deliberately chose to limit its efforts after the Koran burning or was unable to carry out operations that would have caused more significant harm.
In offering an overall view of the threat from Tehran, Gen. John R. Allen, the senior allied commander in Afghanistan, told Congress in recent public testimony that Iran continued to “fuel the flames of violence” by supporting the Afghan insurgency. “Our sense is that Iran could do more if they chose to,” General Allen said. “But they have not, and we watch the activity and the relationships very closely.”
The most visible rioting that American officials say bears Iranian fingerprints occurred in Herat Province, along Afghanistan’s western border with Iran. In a melee after the Koran burning, 7 people were killed and 65 were wounded, Afghan and American officials said. That violence peaked when a police ammunition truck was hit by gunfire from a rioter and exploded.
Iran has denied any government-backed effort to foment unrest in Afghanistan, but American officials see a pattern of malign meddling to increase Iran’s influence across the Middle East and South Asia. Iran appears to have increased its political outreach and arms shipments to rebels and other political figures in Yemen, and it is arming and advising the embattled government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.
Those activities also reflect a broader campaign that includes what American officials say was a failed plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States in October, and what appears to have been a coordinated effort by Iran to attack Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia this year. Iran has denied any role in the attacks, which caused several injuries but did not kill anyone.
Read it all

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