Afghanistan: March 29, 2001


Iran is seeking to keep Afghanistan's Taliban government off balance by supporting rebels in the western and northeastern parts of Afghanistan. Afghan refugees at camps in Iran are recruited for the rebel forces and them smuggled into Afghanistan. Those sent into the western regions (bordering Iran) are flown into rebel bases by Iranian aircraft which easily slip through the all-but-non-existent Afghan air defense grid. Those bound for the northeast (where rebel leader Massoud, the Lion of Panjsher, sits in the hills with 10,000 troops gazing down at his former capital of Taloqan) are flown into Tajikhistan and make their way into Massoud's enclave by overland routes.--Stephen V Cole


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