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Published:September 16th, 2007 12:38 EST

Iranian weapons intercepted in Afghanistan

By SOP newswire

WASHINGTON (AFP) - NATO troops deployed in Afghanistan have intercepted an Iranian arms shipment destined for the Taliban in what appears to be an escalating flow of weaponry between the two former enemies, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

Citing unnamed officials from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, the newspaper said the shipment seized on September 6 included armor-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 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 quotes 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 Post said.

A senior Iranian official called the allegation baseless, according to the report.

"We have no interest in instability in Iraq or Afghanistan," the paper quotes the Iranian official as saying. "We have good neighborly relations with the heads of state, who have praised Iran recently. Why should we send weapons to the opposition?"

Iran, a predominantly Shiite Muslim country, has long opposed the Taliban, a Sunni Muslim group with different ideas about society, government and religion, the report said.

But US officials say their cooperation is based on common opposition to foreign, and particularly Western, troops in Afghanistan, The Post said.

Source:Afghan News