November 1st, 2010
11:04 AM ET

Petraeus on Afghanistan, Iran, Taliban strategy

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr sat down with the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, for an in-depth exclusive interview. Some highlights:

Petraeus says the Taliban's momentum in Afghanistan has "broadly been arrested" in some locations. "My assessment is that the momentum the Taliban enjoyed until probably late summer has broadly been arrested in the country," Petraeus said. "It doesn't mean it's been arrested in every location in the country, but it means by and large that is the case. Read and watch more

He said he expects to be able to recommend to President Barack Obama that the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan could begin to be reduced in July 2011, but he declined to say how many troops might be headed home.  Read more on the transition, Karzai and more

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Filed under: Iran • Karzai • Petraeus
October 25th, 2010
10:20 AM ET

Karzai got cash from Iran

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan acknowledged Monday that he has received cash from Iran - and he said the United States knows about it and does the same thing. FULL POST

October 19th, 2010
04:13 PM ET

Iran joins talks and Petraeus briefing on Afghanistan

For the first time since the start of the war, an Iranian representative joined international talks on Afghanistan.

Iran's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Qanezadeh, attended the meeting Monday in Rome of the coordinating group of representatives for Afghanistan and Pakistan from more than 40 countries as well as the United Nations and European Union .
FULL POST

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Iran • Petraeus • Understanding Afghanistan
October 6th, 2010
11:20 AM ET

Afghans find tons of explosive devices transferred from Iran

Authorities in southwestern Afghanistan have seized 19 tons of explosive devices that had been transferred across the border from Iran, police said.

Nimruz Police Chief Abdul Jabar Purdel said a suspect was detained. Nimruz province, in Afghanistan's southwestern corner, borders Iran and Pakistan

The devices had been placed in 337 boxes inside a 40-foot shipping container transferred from Iran over a bridge linking Afghanistan and Iran, he said.

Earlier this year, a senior U.S. Defense Department official said that new U.S. military intelligence suggests Iran planned to smuggle new shipments of weapons into Afghanistan as part of an increased effort to interfere with coalition operations.

The information came from an "Iranian source" whose tips on past shipments have been verified by the United States, the official said in April.

The official also noted that Iran - a majority Shiite country - and the Sunni Taliban almost went to war with one another in the late 1990s, so it's not really in their interest to be a major source of top-shelf arms to the Taliban.

Tehran has consistently denied supporting groups opposed to the Afghan government. U.S. and coalition troops have found evidence of some Iranian weapons inside Afghanistan in seized caches or in the aftermath of attacks.

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Filed under: Afghan security forces • Iran • Taliban
Afghanistan documents by the numbers
July 27th, 2010
07:20 PM ET

Afghanistan documents by the numbers

We’re working to get the big and small stories contained in the tens of thousands of Afghan war documents leaked this week. It's obviously taking time to work through all the field reports and verify what we can, so we thought we'd also try a different, quicker, tack to get an insight into these documents – the search button.

Here's the number of times various words appear in the papers released publicly by WikiLeaks.org. Make of them what you will. They are not all the documents that were leaked to the media in the past few days. Al-Qaeda (or in military spelling al-Qaida) appears more than 30 times, the current and former presidents just 8 times between them. There are more reports about opium than Iran. Perhaps one insight into the daily life of troops there is that the word "ambush" appears 3,914 times and IED (military-speak for a crude bomb, or Improvised Explosive Device) is mentioned 37,599 times.

  • [President] Obama – 2
  • [President] Bush – 6
  • [Taliban leader] Mullah Omar – 7
  • [Insurgent leader Gulbuddin] Hekmatyar – 11
  • [Afghan President] Karzai – 260
  • VBIED [Vehicle-borne improvised explosive device] – 476
  • Pakistan – 2,197
  • Taliban – 3,567
  • Ambush – 3,914
  • IED – 37,599
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Filed under: al Qaeda • Iran • Karzai • Pakistan • Taliban • WikiLeaks
April 2nd, 2010
08:15 PM ET

Intel suggests Iran may smuggle arms to Afghanistan

New U.S. military intelligence suggests Iran plans to smuggle new shipments of weapons into Afghanistan in the coming weeks as part of an increased effort to interfere with coalition operations, a senior U.S. Defense Department official said Friday.

The information came from an "Iranian source" whose tips on past shipments have been verified by the United States, the official said.

Read the full story from CNN's Barbara Starr


Filed under: Iran
March 25th, 2010
01:27 PM ET

Gates on Iran's involvement with Taliban training

Amid questions about Iran's involvement with the Taliban in Afghanistan, U.S. Defense Sec. Robert Gates addressed the issue at a Thursday briefing.

"Based on everything that I've seen, I continue to believe that the Iranians are involved," Gates said. "But it remains at a relatively low level and we certainly would hope that it stays that way."

Earlier this week, U.S. military and intelligence officials said Iran is helping train Taliban fighters within its borders. The United States has already said that the Taliban may be receiving limited training from the Iranians in Afghanistan itself, but officials told CNN that training in the use of small arms was occurring within Iran.


Filed under: Iran • Taliban
March 24th, 2010
10:24 AM ET

Mountain trails reveal weapons smuggling route

Nima Elbagir reports for CNN: We had traveled from the city of Herat in out to Afghanistan's western border to film a story on the smuggling of weaponry to the Taliban from Iran – we wanted to get a sense of how much was being done to block the smuggling trails along the Iranian border - an area of remote mountain trails and passes.

Read the full story from Nima Elbagir

Related: U.S. officials: Taliban fighters training in Iran


Filed under: Iran