Bob Gates Says Iran Arming Taliban ... He Can't Be Trusted

He has not been as horrid as he might have been, but that doesn't mean Gates is a straight shooter.

There's a lot going on in this article about Defense Secretary Robert Gates' assertion that the Taliban have the upper hand in Afghanistan, and his prediction that the American public's support for the conflict will soften if progress doesn't become apparent soon.

This statement certainly jumped out for me:

Mr. Gates also said Iran was harming U.S. interests in Afghanistan by sending weapons to the Taliban and other armed groups. He expressed particular concern that Tehran might step up its shipments of explosively formed penetrators, powerful roadside bombs capable of punching through even the strongest armor.

Afghanistan is known as the "Graveyard of Empires," and with good reason -- everyone's fought (and lost) there, leaving a country awash in weapons. In Pakistan's "tribal areas" bordering on Afghanistan, even very modern, heavy weapons are easily found -- here's a brief but fascinating documentary that reveals just how easy it is to get Soviet, American and even old British hardware for a song.

And, according to an investigation by The New York Times,there's evidence that Gates' DoD is itself supplying the Taliban with arms:

Insurgents in Afghanistan, fighting from some of the poorest and most remote regions on earth, have managed for years to maintain an intensive guerrilla war against materially superior U.S. and Afghan forces.

Arms and ordnance collected from dead insurgents hint at one possible reason: Of 30 rifle magazines recently taken from insurgents' corpses, at least 17 contained cartridges identical to ammunition the United States had provided to Afghan government forces, according to an examination of ammunition markings by The New York Times and interviews with U.S. officers and arms dealers.

The presence of this ammunition among the dead in Korangal Valley, an area of often fierce fighting near the Afghan border with Pakistan, strongly suggests that munitions procured by the Pentagon have leaked from Afghan forces for use against U.S. troops.

 Also, the reference to "explosive formed penetrators" raises a huge red flag ...

Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet.
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