As if the situation in Afghanistan isn't messy enough, American officials today revealed that Iran tried to stir the pot. Tehran apparently jumped on the news that US troops had burned Korans at Bagram in late February, ordering agents stationed in the country to try to spur on violent protests in Kabul and throughout western regions. The New York Times reports that nothing much came of those efforts: Some anti-US activity that killed seven in Herat Province, which abuts Iran, was likely fomented by Iran. Beyond that, it's unclear if its efforts were just unsuccessful, or if the country reeled them in.
"Our sense is that Iran could do more if they chose to," Gen. John R. Allen recently told Congress. "But they have not, and we watch the activity and the relationships very closely." Some dozen officials told the Times they are carefully reviewing the attempt and the country's capabilities; one describes the country's embassy as having a "very active" anti-US program. But another downplays the country's abilities, noting, "The attacks failed, so clearly there are kinks in Iran’s planning and tradecraft." But "they’re learning from each of these incidents and becoming more dangerous," counters House Intelligence Committee head Mike Rogers. (Read more Iran stories.)