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Thread: Iranian Special Forces and battle for Herat 2001

  1. #1
    Member AKS's Avatar
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    Default Iranian Special Forces and battle for Herat 2001

    [CENTER]Iranian Special Forces Reportedly Fight Alongside US in Battle for Herat [/CENTER]
    [CENTER]Publication: Foreign Broadcast Information Service[/CENTER]
    [CENTER]Date: 11/16/2001[/CENTER]
    [FBIS Transcribed Text] The Afghan war has produced at least one set of improbable bedfellows: the US and Iran. That is why the battle for Herat in southwest Afghanistan on Monday, November 12, stood out from the Northern Alliance's other rapid-fire wins. Beyond giving the anti-Taliban movement a key city and control over the main routes to Iran and Turkmenistan, winning Herat may be remembered as a turning point for America's foreign relations outside Afghanistan too, because it brought the US and Iran together militarily for the first time since the anti-American Shiite revolution swept to power in Tehran in 1979. This landmark conjunction is bound to make waves in the India subcontinent, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.
    DEBKA-Net-Weekly's sources in Washington and Tehran reveal that US Special Forces, mainly Rangers and the Delta Force, mounted the Herat campaign jointly with special force units of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, the Pazdaran, a force that symbolizes implacable Iranian Shiite abhorrence for America, the "Great Satan" The last time the two armies met, it was as foes. On April 7, 1980, US commandos led by the crack Delta Force and Iranian special forces confronted each other in a disastrous operation ordered by US President Jimmy Carter to free hundreds of Americans held hostage by Khomeini's zealots in the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The United States never revealed the cause of its failure. Forewarned, the Iranians waylaid the US Special Forces as they landed on the salt flats of southern Iran. In the ensuing havoc, several US transport planes and helicopters tried to evade Iranian fire and take off in a hurry. A Hercules C-130 collided with one of the American helicopters and both aircraft went up in flames. Seven US commandos were killed that day.
    That confrontation 21 years ago is relevant to current events in Afghanistan. Then was the first time in US military history that special forces were armed with computerized communications, navigation and targeting equipment. Each commando carried a personal battlefield computer, providing direct communication between field commanders and headquarters in the rear. Back in 1980, the computers were large and cumbersome, hampering their user's movements. But the US rescue team was hampered by more than hardware; unbeknownst to Washington, a Soviet intelligence source working with the East German HVA intelligence agency had passed the new US computers' operating codes to Iran.
    The Iranians could therefore eavesdrop on US transmissions at every level. They even picked up the rescue team's detailed report as it was relayed to President Carter, who was standing by in the White House situation room for news.
    The situation in Afghanistan this week was a completely different story. This time, Iranian special forces were freely handed US communications and operational codes in a gesture from Washington to Tehran -- freely except for the fact that their range was limited to a radius applicable only to the local US command structure in and around Herat.
    According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military sources, the US-Iranian dialogue leading up to this military and intelligence cooperation in Afghanistan began in late September and flowed through two channels: The first had two branches - one, American business representatives employed in the past year by firms with investments in Iran. Those firms were managed by Richard Cheney before he was elected vice president; two, CIA officers left to hold down various undercover duties after the 1991 Gulf War period, when Cheney served the first President Bush as defense secretary. Both groups have been acting as Iran's lobby in Washington, advocating the lifting of U.S. economic sanctions and a larger American stake in the Iranian economy. The second channel was military. DEBKA-Net-Weekly's sources reveal two secret visits to Tehran in recent weeks by General Tommy Franks, Head of US Central Command (covering Afghanistan and the Near East), attended by armed forces staff officers and CIA Iranian Desk staffers. They held intensive discussions with Iranian army and military intelligence chiefs, as well as General Yahya Rahim Safavi, commander of the Revolutionary Guards, on Iran's contribution to the US war against terror and role in its aftermath.
    What the Americans were after was for an Iranian elite unit to cross into Afghanistan, infiltrate Herat and form insurrectionary cells to rise up against their Taliban masters when the Northern Alliance attacked the city. Generals Franks and Safavi agreed on a plan and shaped its details. It worked like clockwork. Iranian commandos set up a secure base for themselves in Herat. A group of eight to 10 US Special Forces officers joined them as the advance guard of the Northern Alliance. Under an Americans guarantee, the thrust into Herat and the central Afghanistan province of Bamayan was left entirely to the forces of the Shi'ite militia chief, former governor Ismail Khan, and no one but the Shi'ite Hazara ethnic contingents led by Karim Khalili were deployed in the city and region. On these terms, Iranian agents organized the local insurrection as arranged and the rebel leader invited the Northern Alliance, or rather, Ismail Khan, to liberate the town.
    A US Special Forces team of officers and CIA personnel meanwhile remained in Tehran to oversee the smooth operation of the joint venture -- the first time the CIA was allowed to set foot in the Iranian capital since 1979. Not only were they present on this alien terrain, but the Herat campaign had US and Iranian military-intelligence teams working opposite each other for a shared objective. Oddly enough, the American team is still in Tehran even after Herat's fall, Khan's takeover and his attempts to consolidate his rule with the help of the Iranian Special Forces still there. According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly's Iran and Gulf experts, the ramifications of the US team's presence in the Islamic republic are noteworthy -- both in domestic terms and for the region.
    [Description of Source: Jerusalem DEBKA-Net-Weekly E-mail-Text in English -- Independent, somewhat sensationalist, electronic magazine focusing on international terrorism, security affairs, and espionage]

    I KNOW IT IS OLD but I found this article by accident when I was searching the net for Iranian spec ops pics

    Is this thing a joke or is it real?!

    to me it sounds unbelievable

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Senior Member Pandy's Avatar
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    Look things up on Wiki, it's there in some way.

  4. #4
    Member AKS's Avatar
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    man thanks for the links folks

    this I think is an awesome thing

  5. #5
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    Whats so special about this? Not every thing on wiki is accurate, or true. And, why would Iranian operatives help american commanders? They do not like the proximity of two american fronts to the GWOT on either of their borders, let alone helping us militarily.

  6. #6
    hell on hookers ibstolidude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKS View Post
    the Shi'ite militia chief, former governor Ismail Khan
    umm... Ismail Khan is a Sunni.

  7. #7
    Member Son of Damian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8thidpathfinderpower View Post
    Whats so special about this? Not every thing on wiki is accurate, or true. And, why would Iranian operatives help american commanders? They do not like the proximity of two american fronts to the GWOT on either of their borders, let alone helping us militarily.
    Iran supplied the Northern Alliance with arms years before 9/11, and used some of there Mirage F.1's (Ex-Iraqi) in airstrikes against the Taliban in 2001 (again before 9/11). They wanted to see the Taliban go as much as we did, not to mention this was all before that whole Axis of Evil thing.

  8. #8
    Tom Waits is my Batsignal ronnieraygun's Avatar
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    Supposedly Ollie North himself walked into Tehran with a cake that had cyanide tabs in there if things went south. Point is that if there were a shred of truth, us mere mortals would never know.

  9. #9
    eye candy of death 2Sheds_Jackson's Avatar
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    I have no way to know about the truth of this story - but if some of the details provided in the story are anything to go by, I find it very very unlikely.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Andreas's Avatar
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    Sounds rather strange...

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    I doubt people would go through all the trouble just for funs, there has to be some truth to the story IMO

  12. #12

    Default How Neo-Cons Sabotaged Iran's Help on al Qaeda

    WASHINGTON, Feb 21 (IPS) - The United States and Iran were on a course to work closely together on the war against al Qaeda and its Taliban sponsors in Afghanistan in late 2001 and early 2002 -- until Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stepped in to scuttle that cooperation, according to officials who were involved at the time.

    After the Sep. 11 attacks, U.S. officials responsible for preparing for war in Afghanistan needed Iran's help to unseat the Taliban and establish a stable government in Kabul. Iran had organised resistance by the "Northern Alliance" and had provided arms and funding, at a time when the United States had been unwilling to do so.

    "The Iranians had real contacts with important players in Afghanistan and were prepared to use their influence in constructive ways in coordination with the United States," recalls Flynt Leverett, then senior director for Middle East affairs in the National Security Council (NSC), in an interview with IPS.

    In October 2001, as the United States was just beginning its military operations in Afghanistan, State Department and NSC officials began meeting secretly with Iranian diplomats in Paris and Geneva, under the sponsorship of Lakhdar Brahimi, head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. Leverett says these discussions focused on "how to effectively unseat the Taliban and once the Taliban was gone, how to stand up an Afghan government".

    It was thanks to the Northern Alliance Afghan troops, which were supported primarily by the Iranians, that the Taliban was driven out of Kabul in mid-November. Two weeks later, the Afghan opposition groups were convened in Bonn under United Nations auspices to agree on a successor regime.

    At that meeting, the Northern Alliance was demanding 60 percent of the portfolios in an interim government, which was blocking agreement by other opposition groups. According to U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan James Dobbins, Iran played a "decisive role" in persuading the Northern Alliance delegate to compromise. Dobbins also recalls how the Iranians insisted on including language in the Bonn agreement on the war on terrorism.

    The bureaucracy recognised that there was an opportunity to work with Iran not only on stabilising Afghanistan but on al Qaeda as well. As reported by the Washington Post on Oct. 22, 2004, the State Department's policy planning staff had written a paper in late November 2001 suggesting that the United States should propose more formal arrangements for cooperation with Iran on fighting al Qaeda.

    That would have involved exchanging intelligence information with Tehran as well as coordinating border sweeps to capture al Qaeda fighters and leaders who were already beginning to move across the border into Pakistan and Iran. The CIA agreed with the proposal, according to the Post's sources, as did the head of the White House Office for Combating Terrorism, Ret. Gen. Wayne A. Downing.

    But the cooperation against al Qaeda was not the priority for the anti-Iranian interests in the White House and the Pentagon. Investigative journalist Bob Woodward's book "Plan of Attack" recounts that Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley, who chaired an inter-agency committee on Iran policy dealing with issues surrounding Afghanistan, learned that the White House intended to include Iran as a member of the "Axis of Evil" in Bush's State of the Union message in January.

    Hadley expressed reservations about that plan at one point, but was told by Bush directly that Iran had to stay in. By the end of December, Hadley had decided, against the recommendations of the State Department, CIA and White House counter-terrorism office, that the United States would not share any information with Iran on al Qaeda, even though it would press the Iranians for such intelligence, as well as to turn over any al Qaeda members it captured to the appropriate home country.

    Soon after that decision, hardliners presented Iranian policy to Bush and the public as hostile to U.S. aims in Afghanistan and refusing to cooperate with the war on terror -- the opposite of what officials directly involved had witnessed.

    On Jan. 11, 2002, the New York Times quoted Pentagon and intelligence officials as saying that Iran had given "safe haven" to fleeing al Qaeda fighters in order to use them against the United States in post-Taliban Afghanistan. That same day, Bush declared "Iran must be a contributor in the war against terror."

    "Our nation, in our fight against terrorism, will uphold the doctrine of 'either you're with us or against us'," he said.

    Officials who were familiar with the intelligence at that point agree that the "safe haven for al Qaeda" charge was not based on any genuine analysis by the intelligence community.

    "I wasn't aware of any intelligence support that charge," recalls Dobbins, who was still the primary point of contact with Iranian officials about cooperation on Afghanistan. "I certainly would have seen it had there been any such intelligence. Nobody told me they were harbouring al Qaeda."

    Iran had already increased its troop strength on the Afghan border in response to U.S. requests. As the Washington Post reported in 2004, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Javad Zarif brought a dossier to U.N Secretary-General Kofi Annan in early February with the photos of 290 men believed to be al Qaeda members who already been detained fleeing from Afghanistan.

    Later hundreds of al Qaeda and Taliban detainees were repatriated to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and other Arab and European countries, according to news reports.

    The hardliners would complain that the Iranians did not turn over any top al Qaeda leaders. But the United States had just rejected any exchange of information with the very officials with whom it needed to discuss the question of al Qaeda -- the Iranian intelligence and security ministry.

    The same administration officials told the Times that Iran was seeking to exert its influence in border regions in western Afghanistan by shipping arms to its Afghan allies in the war against the Taliban and that this could undermine the interim government and Washington's long-term interests in Afghanistan.

    But in March 2002, Iranian official met with Dobbins in Geneva during a U.N. conference on Afghanistan's security needs. Dobbins recalls that the Iranian delegation brought with it the general who had been responsible for military assistance to the Northern Alliance during the long fight against the Taliban.

    The general offered to provide training, uniforms, equipment and barracks for as many as 20,000 new recruits for the nascent Afghan military. All this was to be done under U.S. leadership, Dobbins recalls, not as part of a separate programme under exclusive Iranian control.

    "The Iranians later confirmed that they did this as a gesture to the United States," says Dobbins.

    Dobbins returned to Washington to inform key administration officials of what he regarded as an opportunity for a new level of cooperation in Afghanistan. He briefed then Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Rumsfeld personally. "To my knowledge, there was never a response," he says.

    *Gareth Porter is an historian and national security policy analyst. His latest book, "Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam", was published in June 2005. (END/2006)

    closest info i could find on this

  13. #13
    Member HarleyDoc's Avatar
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    This sounds like B.S. to me. I was on the ground in Mazar at the time. Talks with our sister team in Herat revolved around how bored they were and how they were pissed at missing all the fighting. I'm not claiming to know everything that happened, but it is highly unlikely that an ODA and/or CIA team was on the ground in Tehran coordinating military action with the Iranians. On the contrary, we were briefed that there were Iranian agents on the ground in Afghanistan and to be careful since the warlords were probably trying to play both sides.

  14. #14
    Moderator & Go Go Dancer Of Death Chops's Avatar
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    As is my understanding Doc. I too call BS.

    Gents, also check the paragraph relating to Ricebowl/Eagle Claw in the original article. If that doesn't set the BSometer off, nothing will.

    Edit- Doc, just PM'd you

  15. #15
    Senior Member Robbee's Avatar
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    I can't dig up any credible sources. If there was anything to the story, the major news agencies would have picked it up and ran with it.

    The only MSM article I could find on the subject was this from USA Today in 2005, quoting an Iranian presidential candidate.

    Iran helped overthrow Taliban, candidate says

    By Barbara Slavin, USA TODAY
    Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards fought alongside and advised the Afghan rebels who helped U.S. forces topple Afghanistan's Taliban regime in the months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the guards' former leader says.
    In an interview by e-mail, Mohsen Rezaie, a candidate in Iran's presidential elections next week, says the United States has not given Iran enough credit. He says Iran played an "important role in the overthrow of the Taliban" in 2001 (Related: Full text of interview).

    Even before U.S. forces entered Afghanistan, Iran backed the Northern Alliance, a loose coalition of warlords and militias from the Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara minorities. The alliance fought the ruling Taliban, a regime dominated by majority Pashtuns that imposed a harsh Sunni Islamic government.

    Current and former U.S. troops and officials confirm Iranians were present with the Northern Alliance as U.S. forces organized the rebels in 2001. They say U.S. forces had no interaction with the Iranians. They deny the Iranians made meaningful contributions on the battlefield.

    Rezaie is the first to claim that Iran played a key role in capturing the Afghan capital, Kabul, at the climax of the war.

    Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman says he has "no knowledge of (Iranian) assistance." The CIA refused to comment.

    Former CIA Afghan team leader Gary Schroen says there were two Iranian guard colonels attached to a Northern Alliance commander, Bismullah Khan, outside Kabul when U.S. Special Forces arrived in September 2001.

    Schroen, author of First In: An Insider's Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan, says, "There was never any (U.S.) interaction (with the Iranians), but we saw them." He downplayed the Iranian role.

    "We knew they were on the ground," says John McLaughlin, former deputy director of the CIA.

    Two officers who served with Task Force Dagger, the Special Forces group that conducted the first U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, say they knew Iranian agents or troops were present.

    One, an Army Special Forces officer, says Iranians in the Northern Alliance stronghold of Mazar-e-Sharif were sabotaging U.S. efforts by competing for the loyalty of local warlords. An Army Special Forces battalion commander says he encountered an Iranian intelligence agent in Kunduz, scene of one of the war's biggest battles. A third Army officer says U.S. forces reported the presence of Iranians in the city of Herat with alliance leader and warlord Ismail Khan. All three spoke on condition they not be named.

    Predominantly Shiite Iran nearly went to war against the Taliban after the massacre of Afghan Shiites and nine Iranians in Mazar-e-Sharif in 1998.

    The Bush administration became the prime backer of the Northern Alliance after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told CBS' Face the Nation on Nov. 11, 2001, two days before the fall of Kabul, that there were places in Afghanistan "where there are some Iranian liaison people, as well as some American liaison people" working with the same Afghan forces.

    James Dobbins, a former State Department official who worked with diplomats from Iran and other Afghan neighbors to create the first post-Taliban government, says the Iranians "were equipping and paying the Northern Alliance. Russia and India were also helping, but at the time, Iran was the most active."

    It is unclear how many Iranians were present at the fall of Kabul. Rezaie says "some" guard commanders were there. "They were special forces for urban warfare (with) experience ... during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88). They were very effective and active ... but American Army propaganda quickly claimed most of these achievements in its own name."

    The Bush administration would have been loath to praise the Iranians, in particular the Revolutionary Guards. The guards are Iran's main vehicle for supporting groups the United States regards as terrorists, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, says Kenneth Katzman, an Iran expert at the Congressional Research Service in Washington.

    In 2002, President Bush labeled Iran a member of an "axis of evil" along with Iraq and North Korea.

    After the fall of the Taliban, Iran offered to help train and equip a new Afghan army, Dobbins says. The offer was rebuffed by the Bush administration, which accused Tehran of giving safe passage to fleeing members of al-Qaeda, backing Palestinian militants and trying to develop nuclear weapons.

    Rezaie, 50, one of eight candidates permitted to run by Iran's clerical regime, appeared to be underlining Iran's role to draw attention to his candidacy and show a desire to improve relations with the United States. Other candidates in the election, including the front-runner, former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, promise they would improve ties broken 25 years ago while Iran was holding U.S. diplomats hostage.

    Rezaie says that "everything is possible" to restore relations. He praised the late Ronald Reagan and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for reaching out to Iran and says, "If they (the Americans) make us a rational offer," he will push for closer cooperation.
    Last edited by Robbee; 08-10-2007 at 10:19 PM. Reason: Grammar

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