Kremlin’s Comeback: Thirty Years After the Soviet Union’s Humiliating Defeat in Afghanistan, Moscow Wants Back In. By Missy Ryan and Amie Ferris-Rotman – Washington Post
Russia has been cultivating ties with the Taliban to increase its influence in Afghanistan three decades after Moscow’s humiliating defeat there helped hasten the Soviet Union’s collapse.
Russian engagement with the militants drew attention, and some flak, when the Kremlin invited Taliban representatives to Moscow for a meeting in September. That invitation was rescinded — at least temporarily — after the Afghan government objected, saying it must take the lead in any talks.
But the diplomatic kerfuffle laid bare the Kremlin’s effort to reassert itself in Afghanistan, an initiative that has included discreet contacts with Taliban leaders and a military buildup along the country’s northern edge.
Moscow has also sought to reclaim its role as regional power broker, convening secret discussions with the United States, Iran, Pakistan, India and China and seeking to ensure any finale to the conflict suits Russian interests…