Soldiers attached to the 101st Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, Iowa National Guard and 10th Mountain, 2-14 Infantry Battalion, load onto a Chinook helicopter to head out on a mission in Afghanistan, January 15, 2019. 1st Lt. Verniccia Ford/U.S. .
(photo credit: VERNICCIA FORD/U.S. ARMY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Israel has sent troops to Afghanistan to collect intelligence on Iranian military movement, Iranian media has reported.
According to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, Israeli troops are operating out of a United States Air Force base in Shindand in the western Afghanistan province of Herat some 75 kilometers from the Iranian border and were collecting intelligence on Iranian movement around the Persian Gulf region.
Russia’s Sputnik News stated that the Israelis were operating “under the flags of the United States and the United Arab Emirates.”
Sputnik quoted an expert on Israel as saying that the Israeli troops were operating under the framework of American forces stationed there and that the activity was carried out with the knowledge and approval of the Afghan government.
“Of course the proximity to an enemy state is the principle reason for carrying out such an operation and also provides legitimacy,” Semyon Tsipis was quoted by the Sputnik’s Urdu language site. “But beyond that, another objective of the mission is to acquire experience in combat in the local ground conditions and activity against the local population.”
“The second objective of the military presence is to gain combat experience in rugged terrain. The military presence in these areas, where military operations are ongoing, is a great opportunity to gain new experience in a rugged environment,” Tsipis continued, adding that the troops deployed to Afghanistan were Israeli special forces.
Israel, he added, is “already cooperating” with other central Asian countries like Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as well as gulf countries like Oman, Qatar and Bahrain against Iran.