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Iranian weapons for Taliban intercepted

world Updated: Mar 10, 2011 00:44 IST

Nato troops in Afghanistan have intercepted an Iranian shipment of rockets to the Taliban that would have allowed them to double the range of their attacks, western diplomats have said.

The rockets were discovered on February 5 when Nato troops stopped a convoy in Nimruz province, in south-west of Afghanistan bordering Iran and Pakistan, officials said. A shoot-out involving Nato forces left several Taliban fighters dead.

The vehicles were found to be carrying 48 122mm rockets, which western sources described as “substantial weapons” with a range of over 12 miles. A diplomat with knowledge of the arms shipment said that was double the range of the usual Taliban weapons.

The rockets resembled Soviet-era weaponry, caches of which are still occasionally being found in Afghanistan. An examination involving British specialists confirmed they were from Iran.

Tehran officially backs Hamid Karzai’s government in Kabul but Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has long been accused of smuggling arms to Taliban.