Iran has sent squads of assassins, secretly nurtured spies and infiltrated police ranks and government departments, especially in western provinces, Afghan officials say.
Even NATO’s top commander in Afghanistan at the time, Gen. Sir David Richards of Britain, discovered that Iran had recruited his interpreter, Cpl. Daniel James, a British-Iranian citizen. Corporal James was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sending coded messages to the Iranian military attaché in Kabul during a tour of duty in 2006.
More recently, Iran has moved so aggressively in bulking up the Taliban insurgency that American forces rushed to Farah Province a second time in January to stave off a Taliban attack.
“The Iranian game is very complicated,” said Javed Kohistani, a military analyst based in Kabul.
Having American forces fight long and costly wars that unseated Iran’s primary enemies has served Tehran’s interests just fine. But by now, the Americans and their allies have outlasted their usefulness, and Iran is pursuing a strategy of death by a thousand cuts “to drain them and cost them a lot.”
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