Iran, Too, Rewards Taliban Fighters for Killing Americans

In the past few weeks, there has been public debate about intelligence reports that Russia has been paying bounties to Afghani jihadists who kill U.S. soldiers, and about the White House’s response to the information. What is not debatable, however, is that Tehran has been providing the Taliban with just such financial incentives—despite the oft-heard claim that the Shiite Islamic Republic is ideologically opposed to any cooperation with Sunni terrorist groups. Lawrence Franklin writes:

Iran’s bounty program for killing U.S. troops began as early as 2010. In one instance, a report indicated that a Taliban messenger was dispatched from Kabul to Iran to pick up $18,000 to be distributed to Taliban cells in Wardak province, Afghanistan. The U.S. Treasury Department’s Terrorist Finance Targeting Center confirmed the relationship between the Taliban and its Iranian sponsors by sanctioning both parties.

During the time when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, Shiite Iran opposed Kabul’s radical Sunni regime. But after al-Qaeda’s Afghanistan-based 9/11 attack on the United States, Iranian intelligence agencies began to open links both to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, for instance, issued Iranian passports to al-Qaeda and presumably the Taliban. After the U.S. overthrow of the Taliban government, Iran quickly moved to assist the Taliban with weapons, explosives, training, and sanctuary on Iranian territory.

Iran’s [expeditionary] Quds Force . . . maintains a close training relationship with various Taliban elements. . . . Iranian weapons have [also] surfaced in Afghanistan’s Kandahar and Farah provinces, both of which abut Iran’s more than 550-mile border with Afghanistan.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Afghanistan, Iran, Taliban, U.S. Foreign policy

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7