July 28, 2010 07:36
North Korea sold missiles to the Taliban in Afghanistan in November 2005 even as the North was taking part in six-party nuclear disarmament talks, a U.S. intelligence report claims.
The report is among confidential documents that constitute the so-called "war logs" released by the website WikiLeaks, according to the Washington Post on Monday. "A powerful Afghan insurgent leader and a man identified as Osama Bin Laden's financial adviser purchased ground-to-air missiles from North Korea in 2005," the paper said.
It quoted the intelligence report as saying, "On 19 November 2005, Hezb-Islami party leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar [sic] and Dr. Amin [no last name], Osama Bin Ladin's financial adviser, both flew to North Korea departing from Iran."
"While in North Korea, the two confirmed a deal with the North Korean government for remote controlled rockets for use against American and coalition aircraft."
The shipment was expected in early 2006 but the terms of the deal were not printed, the report said.
In 2007, about 18 months after the deal, a U.S. CH-47 Chinook helicopter was downed by a missile near the Helmand River in Afghanistan. The weapon was assessed to be bigger than the usual rocket-propelled grenades insurgents use.
"If true, it illustrates the length to which North Korea will go to kick the United States -- and generate cash for its sanctions-strapped economy," an expert told the paper. "If they are a paying customer, that would help the North Korean cash flow... Arms sales are an important source of income for the regime."
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