( AFP ) - A top Taliban military commander in Afghanistan, Mullah Mansour Dadullah, has denied any links between the Taliban and Iran, according to the transcript of a video interview posted online.
The video was distributed by Al-Qaeda's media arm, As-Sahab, and contains 15 minutes of video with Mansour answering questions by an unknown interviewer, said the US-based SITE group which monitors extremist websites.
Asked about the relationship between the Taliban and other mujahedeen fighters, Mansour describes "reciprocity" with Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Islamist resistance fighters in Iraq, saying "military strategies and methods are shared between the groups so as to hit the enemy with the strongest force."
However, asked about collaboration with Iran, as is often alleged by the United States, Mansour denies any ties.
"This is the claim of the Americans who are looking for something to take as a reason to defend their defeat in front of the world," he said according to the transcript released by SITE.
"They tried to find a way to prove that Iran helps the Taliban, and this is false propaganda. Neither Iran nor others help us, but we have help from Allah alone and we receive help directly from the Muslims in general."
US officials allege that Tehran is supporting the Taliban in their bloody rebellion against the US-backed government of President Hamid Karzai and the 50,000 foreign soldiers backing him, most of whom are American.
Tehran denies the charge and many Afghan officials also say there is no proof Tehran is directly involved, with Washington irked by Karzai's insistence that Iran is a good neighbor.
The 928-kilometer (575-mile) border between Iran and Afghanistan is porous and difficult to patrol. It is relatively easy for traffickers moving through the semi-desert of plains and hills to avoid detection.
All kinds of items smuggled over the border have been seized, including arms and drugs -- especially opium, which is being produced at record levels in Afghanistan.