Afghan jailed for 16 years for spying for Iran

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 21:47

Herat: An Afghan man found in possession of
photographs of NATO bases in Afghanistan has been jailed for
16 years for spying for neighbouring Iran, officials said
on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old man, named only as Mahmmood, had Iranian
intelligence officials` phone numbers in his notebook and
pictures of foreign and Afghan military installations in western Herat province, an official said.

Afghan intelligence had been able to listen to
conversations between him and Iranian intelligence over the
border, the official said.

Mahmood was arrested while taking photographs of a
government weapons depot, local media reported.

"We found you guilty of betrayal and treason to the
people, national sovereignty, independence, internal security
and covert activities against the government of Afghanistan,"
judge Serajuddin Naser told Mahmood in Herat city court
yesterday.

Mahmood, who is originally from Herat but has lived most
of his life in Iran, had pleaded not guilty and continued to
protest his innocence after being sentenced to 16 years in
prison.

NATO`s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in
Afghanistan has accused Iran of providing equipment and
support to Afghan militants waging an insurgency against the
Afghan government and US-led international troops.

But Iran has rejected this, with a foreign ministry
spokesman describing the allegations last year as "baseless
and unacceptable."

Iran is sometimes seen as hostile to Taliban militants
for religious reasons but analysts suggest it could support
insurgents as a counterweight to arch-enemy the US, which has
nearly 100,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of a 140,000-strong international force.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 21:47

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