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Captured Taliban Commander: 'I Received Iranian Training'

FARAH, Afghanistan -- A Taliban commander captured in southwestern Afghanistan claims to have received military training in Iran to target a major dam in the region.

The claim was made by Mullah Dadullah, who was captured recently in the Lash-e Zoveyn region of Farah Province, close to the Iranian border.

"I was trained in Iran for three months. Our trainers were a mix of Pakistanis, Iranians, and Arabs," Dadullah, the head of a group of some 150 Taliban fighters, told journalists under police supervision on August 23 in the provincial capital, Farah.

"Ali Talibi and Hussein Rezai were two of my Iranian instructors. They taught me to fire rockets and to plant mines," he added. "I was trained in setting up remote-controlled mines and planting antitank mines. Even developed countries would have been unable to discover the mines I planted."

Senior U.S. and Afghan officials have long accused Iran of supporting Afghan insurgents. But Tehran has consistently denied such accusations.

Dadullah claimed to have been involved in insurgent attacks in the southwestern provinces of Farah, Helmand, and Nimroz during the past three years.

He said that recently Iranian officials offered him $50,000 in return for destroying the Kamal Khan Dam in Nimroz Province, east of Farah.

Farah's provincial police chief, Gahussudin, said that Dadullah was tasked with sabotaging major infrastructure projects in the region.

"He was trained for blowing up the Kamal Khan Dam. He was also tasked to attack other major infrastructure projects in the provinces bordering Iran," Gahussudin said. "Fortunately, he was arrested by the police" before he could act on his plans.

The Kamal Khan Dam is located in the Char Borjak district of Nimroz Province. After completion it will significantly reduce water flow to the neighboring regions of southeastern Iran, which already face severe water shortages.

Afghans also accuse Tehran of attempting to slow down the construction of Salma Dam in western Herat province which borders northeastern Iran.