SAMARA, June 20 (Sputnik) – The US claims that Russia allegedly supports the Taliban movement in Afghanistan are groundless and seek to divert attention from Washington’s failures in the Asian nation, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Khaama news agency cited Lt. General Austin Scott Miller, the newly nominated commander of the US-NATO mission in Afghanistan, as saying that Pakistan, Russia and Iran supported Taliban fighters.
“There have been a large number of requests to provide comments on the statement of General Miller, the nominee for the position of commander of the US-NATO forces in Afghanistan, on Russia’s alleged support for the Taliban … The topic is not new. We, for our part, recorded endless attempts at misinformation by US representatives with basically the same wording … It appears that the United States is trying to distort Russia’s activities in Afghanistan in order to divert attention from its own multiple errors it has made over its more than 16-year presence in Afghanistan, ” Zakharova said at a briefing in Samara.
The conflict in Afghanistan has been the longest in which the United States has ever been involved. In August 2017, US President Donald Trump announced his new strategy on Afghanistan which envisioned bolstering US troops numbers in the country. Trump said that while he shared the frustration of the US population over the country’s long and costly presence in Afghanistan, and though his “original instinct was to pull out,” he had to depart from this campaign rhetoric after consultations with US military officials on the matter.
In May, the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said that the US Defense Department and Agency for International Development had spent around $4.7 billion on stabilization initiatives since 2001, but the projects had failed to improve the capacity and performance of the Afghan government.