Taliban’s Best Fighters Being Trained by Iran by Anthony Loyd - The Times
Hundreds of Taliban fighters are receiving advanced training from special forces at military academies in Iran as part of a significant escalation of support for the insurgents, Taliban and Afghan officials have told The Times.
The scale, quality and length of the training is unprecedented and marks not only a shift in the proxy conflict between the US and Iran inside Afghanistan, but also a potential change in Iran’s ability and will to affect the outcome of the Afghan war.
A political adviser to the Taliban at its Quetta Shura headquarters in Pakistan said: “The Iranian offer of training came with two demands: that we should put more focus on attacking American and Nato interests in Afghanistan, and devote more forces to attacking the Daesh [Isis].”
The adviser, a 38-year-old former bomb maker from the Sangin district in Helmand province, who cannot be named, said talks between the Taliban and Iran about sending insurgents on six-month training run by Iranian special forces began in spring this year, when President Trump was preparing to pull the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal. The Taliban selected its brightest and most able young fighters and sent them into Iran in small groups in May, where they were met by Iranian military officials and taken to their camps…