NATO Launches New Afghanistan Operation

NATO has launched a new offensive in Afghanistan’s Gereshk Valley.

NATO forces launched a new military operation Wednesday in Afghanistan’s most violent southern province, while the alliance said it was investigating a shipment of weapons intercepted near the border with Iran this month.

About 2,500 Afghan and NATO troops began the operation in the Gereshk region of Helmand province, the site of the fiercest battles this year and the world’s largest opium-producing region. NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said the troops would conduct military “security and stabilization” operations in the upper Gereshk Valley, but provided no other details.

Meanwhile, a NATO spokesman said ISAF was investigating the source of a weapons shipment recently intercepted by troops in Farah province near the Iranian border. “Although we know that it came from the geographic area of Iran, there is no definitive indication that it came from the Iranian government. We’re still evaluating what is contained in that shipment,” spokesman Maj. Charles Anthony said.

A Washington Post report Sunday said the shipment seized Sept. 6 was being sent to the Taliban and included armor-piercing bombs similar to those that have been used in roadside bombs against foreign troops in Iraq. NATO previously intercepted two shipments of weapons said to be from Iran in April and May. NATO’s top general in Afghanistan, Gen. Dan McNeill, has said there is no evidence linking the Iranian government to the shipments.

It’s almost inconceivable that bombs are coming in from Iran without the knowledge of the government.

FILED UNDER: General, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Michael says:

    It’s almost inconceivable that bombs are coming in from Iran without the knowledge of the government.

    If Russia can lose track of nuclear weapons and the Multinational Force Iraq can lose track of over a hundred thousand AK-47s, I’m willing to believe that the Iranian government could lose track of some shaped charges.

  2. sam says:

    Are you also willing to believe Iran is purposely sending them?

    Are you willing to believe a country which has publically declared we are the great satan and want to fight us at every turn, would use ambiguity in its actions, knowing it has full deniabilty to ship weapons over the border?

    Are you willing to believe that if even in the best case, Iran lost track of some charges and we told them their stuff was appearing in Iraq that they wouldn’t take effort to secure those charges? As if all of Iran’s munitions storage don’t have an security or surveillence? Weapons appearing on the scene once may be a fluke, but consistency appearing in multiple countries over the course of several years, after us notifying them of it, is not a fluke.

    Are you willing to believe that if Iran supposedly has no countrol over how its weapons get into the hands of terrorists then its absolutely crucial they don’t develop an atomic bomb.

  3. Michael says:

    Are you also willing to believe Iran is purposely sending them?

    Absolutely, that is the more likely of the two, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire Iranian government knows about it, after all the entire US government didn’t know Reagan was selling weapons to Iran.

  4. Tlaloc says:

    I’m with Michael here. Given that we KNOW Iran has a large paramilitary organization that is essentially outside of the direct government control (the IRG) it’s hard to justify any *assumptions* that small arms migrating out of the country have to be a government plot.

    We already did the BS song and dance insinuations leading to war in a middle eastern country, this time I want hard facts.

  5. anjin-san says:

    It’s almost inconceivable that bombs are coming in from Iran without the knowledge of the government.

    So James, you are back to playing war shill for the Bush admin. Are you planning on enlisting for this one, or are you going to leave the fighting and dying to others once again?

  6. Andy says:

    Look it folks, all of the weapons caches that we failed to secure in Iraq and Afghanistan have finally run out of weapons, and though we did our level best to arm insurgents by losing hundreds of thousands of weapons, sometime we just need a little extra help.

  7. James Joyner says:

    So James, you are back to playing war shill for the Bush admin.

    Huh? I think it’s pretty likely that Iran is pursuing interests contrary to ours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Few doubt it, in fact. That should color our policy toward Iran.

    Does that mean we should go to war with Iran? No. Indeed, I’ve been consistent in saying that the cost-benefit analysis doesn’t support that.

  8. Michael says:

    I think it’s pretty likely that Iran is pursuing interests contrary to ours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Few doubt it, in fact. That should color our policy toward Iran.

    Our policies in Iraq and Afghanistan may be contrary to Iran’s, but I don’t see how our interests are that far removed. Iran had been an enemy of the Taliban long before the US was. They were fighting Saddam long before the US was. Iran is also on Al Qaeda’s hit-list of apostate governments.

  9. Tlaloc says:

    Huh? I think it’s pretty likely that Iran is pursuing interests contrary to ours in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I don’t know, apparently both of us want a shia led theocracy in Iraq.

    Go Team!

  10. Andy says:

    Our policies in Iraq and Afghanistan may be contrary to Iran’s, but I don’t see how our interests are that far removed. Iran had been an enemy of the Taliban long before the US was. They were fighting Saddam long before the US was. Iran is also on Al Qaeda’s hit-list of apostate governments.

    In general, we’ve been pursuing Iran’s interests in the region for the past 5 years, more than America’s interests.

    You know, the single most simple explanation for everything that we have done for the past 7 years is that Dick Cheney is a Manchurian candidate sleeper agent for the ayatollahs. It pretty much ‘splains everything.

  11. Tlaloc says:

    You know, the single most simple explanation for everything that we have done for the past 7 years is that Dick Cheney is a Manchurian candidate sleeper agent for the ayatollahs. It pretty much ‘splains everything.

    The mullah’s would have to own a butt load of Halliburton stock for it to really explain everything. Oh and they’d have to really hate Mardi Gras.

    Just sayin…

  12. Andy says:

    Gosh, tlaloc, you don’t say!

    I don’t know about Mardi Gras for sure, but I’d be willing to wager that Khamenei and Ahmadinejad won’t be taking their tops off for beads.

  13. Tlaloc says:

    LOL.

    I thought I was just joking…