Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez, the commander in charge of U.S. military forces in the eastern region of Afghanistan, told reporters this morning that "there has not been any militarily significant aid" coming into the country from Iran. A year ago, Gen. Peter Pace, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, charged that Iranian-made weapons were being supplied to the Taliban. It was the first time that such a charge had been made. "We have intercepted weapons in Afghanistan headed for the Taliban that were made in Iran," Pace said last April, adding that it was unclear "which Iranian entity" was doing the shipping of the arms.
Rodriguez appeared to downplay these charges at a video-conference briefing this morning for Pentagon reporters. In what is likely to be his last Pentagon press corps briefing before he concludes his current tour in Afghanistan, Rodriguez added that according to recent polls, 4 out of 5 Afghans feel secure "doing their day-to-day living." However, he said, the tactics that have worked in eastern Afghanistan may not work in other parts of the country.
There were some 6,500 Afghan deaths, with violence up 27 percent, in 2007, the deadliest year for U.S. and NATO troops since the start of the war.