Russia and Iran appear to be either disingenuous in their fight against the Taliban, or just are just plain lying, and should be considered rogue states sponsoring terrorism.
June 20, 2018 12:12 PM
Russia and Iran are “hedg[ing] their bets” by backing the Taliban against other terrorists at the expense of Afghanistan’s central government, a senior State Department official testified Wednesday.
“We are concerned about countries that are seeking to hedge their bets in Afghanistan, typically by viewing the Taliban as a legitimate force in fighting ISIS-Khorasan,” Alice Wells, the top diplomat for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
U.S. officials have accused Russia repeatedly of undermining American efforts to stabilize Afghanistan by providing weapons to the Taliban. Russia has denied the charges, while hinting at more aggressive efforts to counter the emergence of an Islamic State affiliate in the country.
“Our strong view is that the only way to defeat terrorism and to bring peace to Afghanistan is to strengthen the Afghan government and to strengthen the government’s ability to fight terrorists,” Wells said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested in April that an international security bloc co-founded with China might have to take a larger role in the Afghan conflict. “We must redouble our efforts to preclude the proliferation of conflicts from Afghanistan and to promote a political settlement of the Afghan crisis,” he said following a Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit.
But Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has been critical of Russian efforts in Afghanistan, saying last year that arming the Taliban is the latest example of how “the Russians seem to be choosing to be strategic competitors in a number of areas.”