NATO Claims Russia Supplying Taliban
Who is Helping the Taliban?
Russia has denied allegations that they may be assisting the Taliban in their ongoing fight against NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Russia’s Growing Influence in Afghanistan
US Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander and commander of the US military’s European Command, told lawmakers in Washington on Thursday last week that he had witnessed Russia’s influence grow in many regions, including in Afghanistan.
In a statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Scaparrotti said Moscow was “perhaps” supplying the Taliban.
In February General John Nicholson, the US commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, testified that Russia is encouraging the Taliban and providing them with diplomatic cover in a bid to undermine US influence and defeat NATO.
Covering Up Failure of Operation Resolute Support?
Zamir Kabulov, head of the Russian foreign ministry’s department responsible for Afghanistan and the Kremlin’s special envoy in the country, made a statement to the RIA Novosti state news agency:
“These claims are absolutely false. These fabrications are designed, as we have repeatedly underlined, to justify the failure of the US military and politicians in the Afghan campaign. There is no other explanation.
In 2015, Kabulov had admitted that Russia was exchanging information with the Taliban and saw a shared interest with them in fighting the Islamic State jihadist group.
Russia considers the Taliban to be a terrorist group and it is banned in the country, along with the Islamic State group.
After a year-long offensive, Taliban fighters on Thursday captured Afghanistan’s strategic district of Sangin in Helmand Province. Sangin had been the scene of previous heavy fighting during Operation Herrick – the British Army’s combat mission in Afghanistan – as part of NATO’s ISAF and the US Operation Enduring Freedom. Sangin was handed over to Afghan personnel after the ceasation of NATO combat operations in 2014.
Photo: Taliban fighters with RPG.