November 16, 2020
Border guards in southwestern Afghanistan have seized about 1,800 kg of explosives allegedly smuggled into the country from neighboring Iran in a “truck laden with potatoes,” local officials told Arab News on Sunday.
The consignment was seized on Thursday in Farah, one of Afghanistan’s largest provinces, which lies near the border with Iran.
“The discovery was made by the border forces. The explosives were smuggled from Iran’s soil,” Mohibullah Mohib, spokesman for Farah’s governor and head of its provincial council, said during a phone interview.
Further details on the matter are being investigated, Mohib said. Officials at the defense and interior ministries in Kabul refused to comment on the matter when contacted by Arab News.
However, Dadullah Qani, head of Farah’s provincial council, said on Saturday that the consignment comprised of “1,800 kg of explosives, hidden beneath a truck laden with potatoes.
“The explosives have been sent to the laboratory for testing,” Qani told Arab News, to determine their type, use, quality and how “sophisticated” the weapons are.
And while the source of the consignment was “unclear,” Qani accused Iran of “providing monetary support to the Taliban for destabilizing the southwestern region,” where the Afghan government is building several “power dams that will deprive Iran of water.”
Qani is the latest official to accuse Iran of funding the Taliban.
Figures from the US military and Afghan officials in the southwest have in the past alleged that Tehran provides arms and cash to Taliban commanders in the region in order to facilitate attacks against Kabul and the coalition troops stationed in the country.
Militants typically use explosives for suicide attacks or vehicle bombs in the country.
The reported seizure of explosives is the first of its kind from Iran, a regional foe of the US.
A spokesman for the US-led coalition in Kabul refused to comment on the incident when contacted by Arab News.
Iran, too, is yet to react to the news.
Hamayoun Shahidzada, a lawmaker from western Herat, which also lies near the Iran border, said: “Iran’s interest is intertwined in the region and the news about the dispatch of explosives could be part of Iran’s support of Taliban groups.
“I do not know about the discovery of the explosives, but there are some Taliban groups who are being protected by Iran,” he told Arab News.