KABUL: US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has accused Iran and Russia over armed support to Afghan Taliban, a media report said on Saturday.
The Pentagon chief blasted Russia and Iran’s continued support to Taliban jihadists, echoing concerns previously expressed by US officials, including Gen. Nicholson, who has also noted that Pakistan is assisting the terrorist group as well.
“Those two countries have suffered losses to terrorism, so I think it would be extremely unwise if they think they can somehow support terrorism in another country and not have it come back to haunt them,” declared Mattis, referring to Iran and Russia. The Wall Street Journal reported.
Support from Russia and Iran is strengthening the Taliban and lending legitimacy to the jihadist organization, notes the newspaper, citing unnamed U.S. military officials.
Russia and Iran have conceded sharing information with the Taliban to fight their mutual enemy, the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), but both countries deny providing military assistance to the group.
Afghanistan’s neighbor Iran, which the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) recently said “remain the foremost state sponsor of terrorism,” has also dismissed accusations that it is providing sanctuary to the Taliban.