Friday, January 27, 2017
Why Is Russia Challenging The U.S. In Afghanistan
Wall Street Journal: Challenging the U.S., Moscow Pushes Into Afghanistan
Russian inroads complicate U.S. efforts to strengthen the government, stamp out the Taliban and end America’s longest war
KABUL—Russia is making fresh inroads into Afghanistan that could complicate U.S. efforts to strengthen the fragile Kabul government, stamp out the resilient Taliban insurgency and end America’s longest war.
Moscow last month disclosed details of contacts with the Taliban, saying that it is sharing information and cooperating with the radical movement on strategy to fight the local affiliate of Islamic State, which has gained a foothold in eastern Nangarhar province, on the border with Pakistan.
Moscow’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Alexander Mantytskiy, and other Russian officials said the cooperation with the Taliban didn’t include supplying it with money or materiel. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid described the relationship as “just political.”
But the revelation coincides with other Russian moves in Afghanistan that appear aimed, as in the Middle East and Europe, at undermining U.S. influence and seeking regional parity with Washington.
Read more ....
Update #1: Russia Returns to Afghanistan (Arif Rafiq, National Interest)
Update #2: Why is Russia so interested in Afghanistan all of a sudden? (Masood Saifullah, DW)
WNU Editor: I did not understand the Soviet Union's Afghan involvement in the 1980s .... and I sure as hell do not understand the Kremlin's rush to get involved in the Afghan quagmire today. The country has been a mess since the late 1970s .... and it will probably continue to be a mess in 2070. And as for Russia talking to the Taliban .... sighhh .... a total waste of time. And what is even more bewildering to me is that the Russian public is dead-fast against any involvement in Afghanistan .... but Russian President Putin has made a decision to still pursue this course.