Iran, the Taliban, and Saudi Arabia

[Diplomatic Courier] James Brazier - Iran, a Shia theocracy, despises the Taliban. The Taliban are Sunni extremists who view Shias as heretics. In August 1998 Taliban fighters slaughtered thousands of Shia Hazaras. The Hazaras were closely aligned with the Northern Alliance, an Iranian-backed rebel coalition dedicated to fighting the Taliban. Iran's impact on the Taliban's drug revenue is one of the untold stories of the war on terror. The U.S. State Department's 2008 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report notes that Iran has deployed unmanned surveillance vehicles, real-time commercial satellite imagery, and night vision equipment against drug smugglers - and that some of this equipment was supplied by the West. Parts of Sistan-Baluchistan are a virtual warzone due to battles between state forces and heavily armed smugglers. Thousands of Iranian security forces have been killed in these encounters. Jundallah, a rebel group fighting for an autonomous Baluchistan, is clearly connected to the heroin rings. Some have suggested the Baluch rebels are a tool of the CIA, perhaps controlled from the CIA's station in Muscat, but the Iranians have another theory: Saudi Arabia is behind Jundallah.

2008-11-12 01:00:00

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