Pace: Iran-made weapons are in Afghanistan
By William H. McMichael - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Apr 17, 2007 12:01:31 EDT

Iranian-made munitions meant for Taliban militants have been intercepted by coalition forces in Afghanistan within the past month, the nation’s senior uniformed military officer said Tuesday.

Following earlier U.S. assertions that Iranian-made weapons are being supplied to anti-U.S. forces in Iraq, the new revelation is the first indication of a possible effort by some elements within Iran to broaden a covert effort against U.S. forces in the region.

“It is not as clear in Afghanistan which Iranian entity is responsible,” Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, told reporters in Washington. “But we have intercepted weapons in Afghanistan, headed for the Taliban, that were made in Iran.”

The munitions included mortars and “C-4-type” explosives, Pace said, and were found in Kandahar province, a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan. C-4 is a plastic explosive that can be molded into various shapes and set off with a detonator or blasting cap.

Pace said markings on the explosives enabled officials to determine their source.

The Defense Department has previous reported that the Iranian Quds Force, a paramilitary arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, is supplying parts for sophisticated and powerful roadside bombs, as well as training, financing and technical support, for Shiite militants fighting U.S forces in Iraq. The bombs, known as explosively formed projectiles or EFPs, are far more powerful than the deadly improvised explosive devices that insurgents have used against U.S. forces in Iraq.

Officials also said U.S. forces have detained members of the Quds Force in the process of attacking the IED network in Iraq.

Last week, the chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq said that Iranian-made arms are being supplied to Sunni extremists. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell also said during that April 11 news conference that Iranian intelligence operatives were supporting the Sunni militants.

A senior U.S. intelligence official said during a Feb. 11 background briefing in Baghdad that the Quds Force activity in Iraq couldn’t have happened without the approval of “top leaders in Iran.” The Pentagon subsequently denied such proof exists.