October 19, 2007 / 12:43 PM / 10 years ago

Afghanistan says no proof Iran govt arming Taliban

HERAT, Afghanistan, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Afghanistan said on Friday it had no evidence the government of Iran was behind a shipment of weapons to Taliban insurgents.

The commander of NATO-led troops in Afghanistan said on Thursday a shipment of hi-tech roadside bombs intercepted in Afghanistan on Sept. 5 had originated in Iran and it was difficult to conceive Tehran’s military did not know about it.

"Iran is our neighbour, is our friend and Iran has had major role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan," Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta said during a visit to the western city of Herat on the border with Iran.

"The government of Afghanistan has no documents (to show) that Iran’s government is involved in the shipment of arms," he told Reuters.

U.S. leaders have accused Iran of supplying weapons to Taliban insurgents, but Afghan officials have refrained from repeating the charge and insist Iran and Afghanistan enjoy warm neighbourly relations. Tehran strongly denies the charge.

But while there is little love lost between Shi‘ite Iran and the hardline Sunni Taliban, Tehran has an interest in undermining U.S. and Western forces inside its eastern neighbour, security analysts say.

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