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U.S. officer says Iran is supplying arms to Taliban

From the Associated Press

kabul, afghanistan -- Adm. William J. Fallon, head of U.S. Central Command, accused Iran of supplying powerful roadside bombs to militants in Afghanistan and said Friday that the U.S. would “act decisively” if the flow continues.

His comments were not a threat of military action against Iran but a suggestion that border interdiction efforts may be increased, Fallon’s aides later said.

Fallon said Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is supplying parts for the type of sophisticated armor-piercing bombs that are used in Iraq.

“The Iranians are clearly supplying some amount of lethal aid,” he said. “There is no doubt . . . that agents from Iran are involved in aiding the insurgency.”

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s International Security Assistance Force here has said that three shipments of weapons emanating from Iran have been intercepted in Afghanistan since April. The latest, it said, was discovered Sept. 6 in the western province of Farah.

Iran has denied that it is supplying arms to fighters in Afghanistan.

Fallon said Iran is also providing development assistance in western Afghanistan, which he labeled as helpful, and said its activities in the country, its eastern neighbor, are meant to ensure that Iran has a role in the region’s politics.

“And I think they put a priority on causing us as much frustration as they can,” he said. “I think it’s all aimed at embarrassing us, and one of their long-standing aims is getting us out of the region.”

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Meanwhile, heavy battles in the violence-plagued south left 75 Taliban fighters and at least six civilians dead, an official said, and a suicide car bomb in Kabul, the capital, killed a French soldier and an Afghan bystander.

The bomb attack in west Kabul was directed against a convoy of French troops traveling in armored vehicles. Many Afghans were injured, hospital and NATO officials said. The blast blew the windows out of a civilian bus and set at least one vehicle on fire.


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