March 24, 2017
Russia has dismissed as “false” the recent allegation by a US general that Moscow may be providing supplies to Taliban militants in Afghanistan, saying the charge was an attempt by Washington to cover up its failed policies in the war-torn country.
“These claims are absolutely false,” Zamir Kabulov, the head of the Russian foreign ministry’s department responsible for Afghanistan and the Kremlin’s special envoy in the country, told RIA Novosti state news agency on Friday.
“These fabrications are designed, as we have repeatedly underlined, to justify the failure of the US military and politicians in the Afghan campaign. There is no other explanation,” he added.
The official made the comments after General Curtis Scaparrotti, the head of the US military’s European Command, told lawmakers in Washington on Thursday that he had witnessed Russia’s influence grow in many regions, including in Afghanistan, and claimed that Moscow is “perhaps” providing supplies to Taliban militants.
“I have seen the influence of Russia of late – an increased influence – in terms of association and perhaps even supply to the Taliban,” Scaparrotti, who is also NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, told the Senate Armed Services Committee, without elaborating.
The US commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, also in February accused Russia of trying to undermine the United States in the country by attempting to “publicly legitimize the Taliban.”
Russia has repeatedly denied providing any aid to the Taliban. Moscow has said its limited contacts with the militants are aimed at bringing the group to the negotiating table.
Moscow considers the Taliban a terrorist group and it is banned in the country, along with Daesh Takfiri group.
Afghanistan faces many security challenges years after the US and its allies invaded the country in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but many areas in the country are still beset with insecurity.
- AP: U.S. Turns Down Invitation To Afghanistan Peace Conference in Russia
- Pakistan to attend Moscow moot on Afghanistan: FM