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US Commander Accuses Russia of 'Legitimizing' Taliban

February 09, 2017

In comments published in the state news agency, Russian Foreign Ministry official Zamir Kabulov expressed concern about the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, urging new cooperation between Russia and NATO is shoring up the Afghan government’s security forces.

Early in the Obama Administration, Russia offered logistics support to the NATO war in Afghanistan, giving them an overland supply route from Europe as a cheaper alternative during periods of tension with Pakistan precluded using the naval route.

Tensions between Russia and NATO have seriously hindered such cooperation in recent years, however, and NATO talk of a withdrawal and ending of the conflict has fueled concern from Russia that they would get hung with supporting Afghanistan’s neighbors against spreading instability.

US commander Gen. John Nicholson is trying to blame the recent woes on Russia, saying the Russian government is “legitimizing” the Taliban in noting that the Taliban has been fighting against ISIS.

Though Russia was eager to provide limited support against the Taliban throughout the war, they are clearly more concerned that ISIS would end up with a serious foothold in Afghanistan, as the Taliban is relatively Afghanistan-centric, while ISIS has global ambitions.