Taliban commanders have revealed that hundreds of insurgents have been trained in Iran to kill NATO forces in Afghanistan. The commanders said they had learnt to mount comple ambushes and lay IEDs which have been responsible for most of the deaths of British troops in Helmand province.
According to the commanders, Iranian officials paid them to attend three-month courses during the winter. They were smuggled across the border to the city of Zahidan, in south east Iran, an hour's drive from training camps in the desert.
Instructors in plain clothes provided daily exercises in live firing. The first month was devoted to teaching the Taliban how to attack convoys and how to escape before NATO forces respond. Their second moth they were shown how to plant IEs in sequence so that the rescuers of soldiers wounded in one blast would be caught in further explosions. The third month was spent on storming bases and checkpoints.
Western officials troubled by growing Iranian support for the Taliban describe the accounts as credible.
Karl Eikenberry, the American ambassador to Afghanistan, recently described signs of co-operation between Iran and the Taliban disturbing. He acknowledged Iran or elements within Iran have provided training assistance and some weapons to the Taliban.
One of the reasons the Taliban are being trained in Iran is because of the military crackdown in Pakistan.
Will Gordon Brown take notice of what's developing in the middle east? The Afghan war is futile and a waste of lives on all sides.