US Sanctions 8 People, Including Two Iranians, Linked To The Taliban

Joseph Lafave Contributor
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The U.S. Department of Treasury announced on Tuesday that it is sanctioning eight individuals whom it claims provide support to the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

According to a press release from the Treasury Department, the decision to place the sanctions comes after a meeting of the seven-nation Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC).

“The TFTC has again demonstrated its tremendous value to international security by disrupting and exposing key Taliban members who are involved in suicide attacks and other lethal activities,” said Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in a press release.

Among the individuals sanctioned are two Iranian nationals who, according to a report from Reuters, are thought to be associated with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps – Qods Force (IRGC-QF), based in Tehran. Another two of the sanctioned individuals are from Pakistan, and the remaining four are all Afghans.

“Iran’s provision of military training, financing and weapons to the Taliban is yet another example of Tehran’s blatant regional meddling and support for terrorism,” said Mnuchin.

(RELATED: Top US General In Afghanistan Survives Taliban Sneak Attack That Kills Head Of Afghan Police)

Although an alliance between Iran — which is overwhelmingly populated by Shia Muslims and the Taliban, who are Sunni — may seem unlikely, a report from Stratfor explains that Iran has much to gain from supporting the militant group.

Not only does Iranian-sponsored aid hamper the efforts of U.S. forces, but it also helps the Taliban defeat ISIS-Khorasan, which threatens both Afghanistan and Iran.

“Though there’s no love lost between Iran and the Taliban, the circumstances of the day oblige Tehran to act pragmatically to ward off the Islamic State,” writes Stratfor in its analysis of the situation.

According to Reuters, these new sanctions are related to the recent campaign of terrorist attacks that the Taliban fighters are committing across the country. Most notably, U.S. Army Brigadier General Jeffrey Smiley was wounded by a Taliban-linked “insider attack.