KABUL (AFP) — A convoy of explosives seized by NATO troops in Afghanistan definitely came from Iran but not necessarily from the government in Tehran, the top NATO general here said.
General Dan McNeill, head of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), confirmed a report in Sunday's Washington Post which said the shipment had been discovered last week.
"The geographic origin of that convoy was clearly Iran but take note that I did not say it's the Iranian government," the US general told AFP in an interview.
"In that convoy there were explosive materials that could be made into more advanced improvised explosive devices," he said, refusing to make any further comment on the shipment, as it was still being analysed.
"It is not the first convoy that we have intercepted that had geographical origins from Iran, but it is one that has my attention."
Citing unidentified ISAF officials, The Washington Post said the weapons stash included armour-piercing bombs, which have been especially deadly when used as roadside bombs against foreign troops in Iraq.
The NATO-led force interdicted two smaller shipments of similar weapons from Iran into southern Helmand province on April 11 and May 3, the report said.
"It's not the fact that it's qualitatively different, but this was a large shipment which got people's attention," the paper quoted a US official as saying.
This time, the arms were shipped into the western province of Farah, indicating an attempt to find routes less likely to be discovered, The Washington Post said.
US and British officials have alleged for months that weapons from Iran are going to the Taliban rebels fighting the Afghan government and its international allies.
Iran, a predominantly Shiite Muslim country, has long opposed the Taliban, a fundamentalist Sunni group.
But officials say their cooperation may be based on common opposition to the presence of foreign, and particularly Western, troops in Afghanistan.
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