Russia 'perhaps' supplying Taliban: Nato commander

2017-03-23 20:05
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Washington - Nato's Supreme Allied Commander who also heads the US military's European Command, General Curtis Scaparrotti,says Russia is "perhaps" supplying the Taliban as they fight US and Nato forces in Afghanistan.

Scaparrotti told lawmakers he had seen Russian influence expand in multiple regions, including in Afghanistan.

"I have seen the influence of Russia of late - an increased influence - in terms of association and perhaps even supply the Taliban," Scaparrotti told the Senate Armed Services Committee without elaborating.

Nato troops have been fighting in Afghanistan since a US-led invasion in 2001 following the September 11 attacks.

About 13 000 Nato service members are in Afghanistan - the bulk of them American - under its Resolute Support training mission.

Security forces

Scaparrotti's comment goes one step further than remarks by General John Nicholson, the US commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan last month.

Nicholson testified that Russia is giving the Taliban encouragement and diplomatic cover in order to undermine American influence and to defeat Nato, but he did not address whether Russia is supplying the Islamist insurgents.

The United States in the 1980s supplied the Mujahideen, parts of which ultimately became the Taliban, with high-tech weapons as they battled the Soviet Union.

After more than 15 years of war, US generals say the Afghanistan conflict is stuck in a "stalemate," with the Taliban continuing to carry broad regional influence and Nato-backed Afghan security forces struggling to make progress.

Read more on:    taliban  |  nato  |  us  |  russia  |  afghanistan

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