Afghani Defense Minister: No Evidence of Russia’s Support for Taliban
17:59 09.11.2017(updated 18:00 09.11.2017)Get short URL
Both Afghani and Russian officials have commented on allegations of Moscow’s alleged support of the Taliban.
“There have been certain rumors that the Russians are linked with Taliban and help it, but we do not have any evidence at the moment,” acting Afghan Defense Minister Tariq Shah Bahrami told reporters.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has also dismissed the allegations of weapons supplies to Afghanistan as “absurd and baseless,” while Russian presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov told Sputnik that the claims are a lie aimed at justifying the failed US strategy in Afghanistan.
Several US officials have spread such claims, with US State Secretary Rex Tillerson directly accusing Russia of supplying weapons to the Taliban, while Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the United States saw evidence of Russia’s support for the Taliban, but could not determine its nature.
However, US Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan Alice Wells has expressed a different position in her interview with RIA Novosti earlier in the day.
“There is nothing I can confirm on if there are weapons flowing to Taliban,” Wells said in response to a question regarding allegations that Russia is supplying military equipment to the Taliban.
Taliban Legal Status
In her interview with RIA Novosti Alice Wells has also touched upon the issue of Taliban’s legal status, stressing that the United States does not support this idea.
“I do not think it is helpful to legitimize the Taliban military as a fighting force against ISIS [Daesh]. To defeat ISIS, we need to work with the Government of Unity,” Wells said on Wednesday.
The statement comes in a wake of new US Afghanistan strategy, revealed by US President Trump in August. According to the document, the US pledged to continue US support for the Afghan government and military. Trump also said the authority of US troops to target terrorists would be expanded and he approved sending an additional 4,000 troops to the country.
The strategy has sparked a tough response from Taliban, claiming they would announce a Holy War in the country if the US will enhance its military presence in the country.
Wells argued the United States should cooperate with the legitimate government of Afghanistan in order to expand the government’s anti-terrorism capabilities.
Moreover, Wells noted that more American nationals have died fighting against Daesh than against Taliban militants.