NATO forces seize rockets from Iran in Afghanistan

Iranian 107mm rockets recovered after attack on U.S. FOB Hammer in Iraq, July 15, 2007.

From Kimberly Dozier, the AP:  NATO forces in Afghanistan have seized 48 Iranian-made rockets intended to aid the Taliban’s spring battle campaign, the most powerful illicit weapons ever intercepted en route from the neighboring state, officials said Wednesday.

The shipment is seen as a serious escalation in Iran’s state support of the Taliban insurgency, according to NATO officials and described in detail by an international intelligence official. …

The intercepted 122-millimeter rockets can be fired up to 13 miles (22 kilometers) away from a target, and explode in a burst up to 80 feet (25 meters) wide – double that of the previous 107-millimeter rockets provided by Iran to the Taliban since 2006, the intelligence official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters. …

Mark Sedwill, NATO’s senior civilian representative to Afghanistan, said the rockets "represent a step-change in the lethal impact of weaponry infiltrating Afghanistan from Iran."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said they were sent by Iran and intended "to provide the Taliban with the capability to kill Afghan and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) soldiers from significant range."

Hague said Britain’s ambassador to Iran Simon Gass – who will soon replace Sedwill as the NATO envoy in Afghanistan – had raised the discovery of the haul with the Iranian foreign ministry.  (photo: MNF-I PAO)

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