Authorities in southwestern Afghanistan have seized 19 tons of explosive devices that had been transferred across the border from Iran, police said.
Nimruz Police Chief Abdul Jabar Purdel said a suspect was detained. Nimruz province, in Afghanistan's southwestern corner, borders Iran and Pakistan
The devices had been placed in 337 boxes inside a 40-foot shipping container transferred from Iran over a bridge linking Afghanistan and Iran, he said.
Earlier this year, a senior U.S. Defense Department official said that new U.S. military intelligence suggests Iran planned to smuggle new shipments of weapons into Afghanistan as part of an increased effort to interfere with coalition operations.
The information came from an "Iranian source" whose tips on past shipments have been verified by the United States, the official said in April.
The official also noted that Iran - a majority Shiite country - and the Sunni Taliban almost went to war with one another in the late 1990s, so it's not really in their interest to be a major source of top-shelf arms to the Taliban.
Tehran has consistently denied supporting groups opposed to the Afghan government. U.S. and coalition troops have found evidence of some Iranian weapons inside Afghanistan in seized caches or in the aftermath of attacks.
Iran rejects claim of transfer of 19 tons of explosives to Afghan Nemroz Prov.
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Kabul, Oct 8, IRNA – Iran's Embassy to Kabul on Friday dismissed reports that 19 tons of explosives were transferred to Nemroz Province customs office southwest of Afghanistan through Iran.
'Such reports are non-technical and hostile,' read a statement issued by the Embassy.
The statement said early studies and testimony of one of the Nemroz officials reveal that the consignment contained explosives due to be used in a celebration.
It said the container carried transit packages loaded in China by the Chinese traders and destined to Afghanistan.
While regretting release of such false and suspicious reports, which only aim to distort public opinion and harm Iran-Afghanistan ties, Iranian Embassy called for taking legal actions against the culprits.
Afghan foreign ministry spokesman Amad Taher Faqiri told reporters on Thursday that no evidence is at hand that Iran had a role in the incident and the issue is under scrutiny.
Head of the Security Command Department of Nemroz Police Mohammad Moussa Rasouli said on Wednesday that the consignment, nabbed by the customs officials, bore seals of made China.
Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30008451