AFP: Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay identified Iran as the origin of weapons used by rebels against the international coalition in Afghanistan. MONTREAL (AFP) Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay identified Iran as the origin of weapons used by rebels against the international coalition in Afghanistan.
“We have asked the Iranians to deal with the problem because it is very hard to cut the supply lines when you have, in another country, people who are providing the arms for use against Canadian forces and others” in the 39-nation NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, he said.
Speaking during a visit to the military base at Kandahar broadcast on Radio-Canada television, MacKay said Canada was particularly concerned about improvised explosive devices from Iran which have fallen into the hands of Taliban rebel forces.
Most of the 73 Canadian soldiers who have died in Afghanistan since 2002 were killed by such explosives.
MacKay, accompanied by Canadian Chief of Defence Staff General Rick Hillier, made a surprise visit to Kandahar Tuesday to celebrate the Christmas holiday with some of the 2,500 Canadian troops in the country.
Relations between Ottawa and Tehran, in a poor state ever since the death in 2003 of Iranian-Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi while in detention in Iran, worsened with the expulsion of the Canadian ambassador to Tehran in early December.
Shortly after MacKay’s press conference, rockets were fired toward the military base but caused no damage, Radio-Canada reported.
Two rockets were fired toward the base during MacKay’s last visit to Afghanistan on November 6.