If I had a nickel for all the times people in audiences where I’ve spoken, or emailers to this site, or learned analysts with whom I’ve debated, or any number of other people have told me confidently that Islam is not a monolith, that the umma is rent by deep divisions, and that the simple Sunni-Shi’ite divide about which every schoolchild knows would preclude any large-scale cooperative jihad action — if I had a nickel for every one, I’d be able to buy that Jihad Watch learjet I had to return when Jamal Badawi reneged on his promise.
Islam is indeed not a monolith. The umma is indeed rent by deep divisions. Sunnis and Shi’ites do indeed hate each other. You’ll note that the Taliban rep quoted here even says that the Iranians and the Taliban have different religions. But will Sunnis and Shi’ites cooperate in jihad activity? Sure, no problem. Iranian already funds Hamas. And now this.
“Iranians train Taliban to use roadside bombs,” by Miles Amoore in The Sunday Times, March 21 (thanks to all who sent this in):
TALIBAN commanders have revealed that hundreds of insurgents have been trained in Iran to kill Nato forces in Afghanistan.
The commanders said they had learnt to mount complex ambushes and lay improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which have been responsible for most of the deaths of British troops in Helmand province. […]
According to the commanders, Iranian officials paid them to attend three-month courses during the winter. […]
Karl Eikenberry, the American ambassador to Afghanistan, recently described signs of co-operation between Iran and the Taliban as disturbing.
“Iran or elements within Iran have provided training assistance and some weapons to the Taliban,” he said.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has publicly backed his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai. But American and British officials have accused Iran of playing a double game by giving covert backing to the Taliban.
Shi’ite Iran had long opposed the Sunni-dominated Taliban. The reason for the change was summarised by one Taliban commander who said of the Iranians: “Our religions and our histories are different but our target is the same. We both want to kill Americans.”