Why Is Russia Helping Anti-U.S. Insurgents In Afghanistan? By Philip Ewing, National Public Radio
Russia is supporting anti-U.S. insurgents in Afghanistan — and through them, terrorists, top U.S. national security leaders say.
What isn't clear is why.
The top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, stopped short of detailing everything the U.S. knows about the Russian return to Afghanistan in an appearance before a Senate panel last week. But he did confirm some lawmakers' accounts of what U.S. intelligence has established about the relationship.
"If Russia is cozying up to the Taliban — and that's a kind word — if they are giving equipment that we have some evidence that the Taliban is getting ... and other things that we can't mention in this unclassified setting? And the Taliban is also associated with al-Qaida? Therefore Russia indirectly is helping al-Qaida in Afghanistan," said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.
"Your logic is absolutely sound, sir," Nicholson said.
Terrorist groups use the Afghan Taliban insurgency as a "medium" in which to operate, Nicholson said, as al-Qaida did before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S.
The disclosures about Russia's operations in Afghanistan, which Nicholson said are increasing after they resumed last year, could complicate any effort by President Trump to work more closely with Moscow on fighting terrorism…
The revelation that Russia is covertly supporting U.S. enemies in Afghanistan makes the political case for increasing a counterterrorism partnership that much trickier. And it further expands the global chessboard on which Moscow is playing against the West…