Iran not supplying arms to Taliban
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday rejected US and British claims that Iranian weapons are being supplied to Taliban insurgents fighting the Afghan government and international troops.
"I doubt seriously if there is any truth in it," Ahmadinejad said at a press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul on his first visit to the country since taking office.
"With all our force, we support the political process in Afghanistan," he said.
Both British and US officials have charged that Iranian-made weapons were aiding the Taliban, the extremist militia which is waging a guerrilla war against the Kabul government as well as the multinational forces here.
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said in June there were so many weapons of Iranian origin coming into Afghanistan that it was hard to believe "it's taking place without the knowledge of the Iranian government."
The charges have been strongly denied by Tehran, which was a staunch opponent of the Taliban movement's 1996-2001 regime.
Karzai has also downplayed the claims, saying they have not been proven.
Afghanistan was close to Iran and also a friend and strategic partner of the United States, Karzai told reporters after meeting Ahmadinejad.
"If Afghanistan can bring them closer, that will be a great happiness for Afghanistan -- but it depends on both sides," Karzai said.
The United States led the invasion that drove the Taliban from power in late 2001 and is the biggest supplier of troops towards international efforts to defeat the Taliban insurgency.