Russia denies supporting Taliban in Afghanistan

April 25, 2016 6:11 pm

Russian Ambassador to Alexander Mantytskiy (L) hands over an AK-47 rifle to Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar (center L) during a ceremony at a military airfield in Kabul on February 24, 2016. (AFP photo)

’s ambassador to Afghanistan dismisses speculation that Moscow has been backing Taliban in order to curb the Daesh Takfiri terrorists operating in some areas of Afghanistan.
Ambassador Alexander Mantytskiy told reporters in the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday that “Russia has no hidden agenda in Afghanistan.”
“We do not provide any assistance to the Taliban,” Mantytski said, adding, “Our interest with the Taliban regarding the fight with Daesh do coincide but no type of information exchange between Russia and the Taliban takes place.”
The envoy pointed out that Russia, like several other countries, has always been urging the Taliban to pursue peace instead of continuing militancy.
The ambassador also expressed his serious concern about growing Taliban militancy the in northern provinces of Afghanistan that border former Soviet Republics including Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Mantytskiy stressed that Russia would continue to strengthen Afghan government forces defense capacity.
He said Russia recently gave the Kabul government 10,000 Kalashnikov automatic rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition for the fight against terrorism.  
In addition to that, Moscow has also been discussing two potential helicopter deals and had proposed increasing intelligence cooperation with the Afghan government to curb militancy, the ambassador noted.
In October last year, Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said that Kabul would welcome assistance by Russia in the war-hit country’s ongoing fight against terrorism.
The developments come as hundreds of Afghans have been killed over past months at the hands of Daesh terrorists, who are trying to strengthen their foothold in the militancy-riddled country.

A file photo of Daesh terrorists in Afghanistan

Daesh, mainly active in Syria and Iraq, has been using a sophisticated social media campaign to woo the local militants, who defect from the main Taliban group.
Although Taliban leaders have warned Daesh against “waging a parallel insurgency in Afghanistan,” the latter has been trying to expand its outreach there and is reported to have between 1,000 to 3,000 terrorists on its payroll.
Afghanistan is gripped by insecurity 14 years after the United States and its allies attacked the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.
Moscow has been critical of the United States and its NATO allies over its handling of the war in Afghanistan.
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