Is Russia supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan?
Russia apparently put bounties on US troops.
On Friday, The New York Times and other newspapers reported that a Russian spy unit offered the Taliban money last year to kill US troops in Afghanistan. The info came in part from interrogations of Taliban militants – and US intel officials apparently briefed the gov on this earlier this year. Although intelligence seems to show Taliban militants collected the money, it’s unclear if they succeeded in killing troops. At least two dozen US troops have been killed in Afghanistan since 2019.
WHY WOULD RUSSIA DO THIS?
It’s unclear. But Russia – and this unit in particular – has been on a campaign to destabilize the West. The country also wants more influence in Afghanistan and has supported the Taliban in the past. It’s also possible that Russia wants revenge on the US for what happened in Syria, when US forces killed Russians in a 2018 attack on pro-regime forces.
WHAT’S THE US GOVERNMENT DOING ABOUT THIS?
The question of the hour. Apparently the National Security Council discussed this back in March, and came up with a range of responses – including filing a complaint to Russia and sanctions. But none of that has happened yet. President Trump denies being briefed – and has also cast doubt on the intel. But lawmakers across the aisle are saying ‘we want answers.’ Russia and the Taliban are denying that any of this is true.
This intelligence report could mark the first evidence of conflict between the US and Russia in Afghanistan since the 1980s. Today, it comes as Russia has carried out a range of cyber attacks in recent years, all while POTUS seems intent on bringing Russia into the fold. Is Russia supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan?