JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin is reckless because we allow him to be” – Washington Post/ David Ignatius

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“… Putin keeps defying the norms of international behavior. … Intelligence agencies have … evidence … Russian military intelligence officers, from … shadowy Unit 29155 of the GRU, paid … Taliban … whose bombing killed three U.S. Marines in … 2019. … [S]ources … [claim] forensic links between the [Afghan operation] GRU officers … and GRU colleagues who carried out […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Colin Powell suggests media had ‘hysterical’ reaction to Russian bounty reports” – New York Post/ Sam Dorman

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“… Colin Powell indicated … that media figures overreacted to a recent report that Russian officials placed bounties on … U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. ‘What I know is that our military commanders on the ground did not think that it was as serious a problem as the newspapers were reporting and television was reporting,’ Powell [said] … ‘It got kind […]

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AUDIO JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Denies Allegations It Paid Militants To Kill U.S. Troops As ‘Nonsense'” – NPR/ Lucian Kim

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“… The Russian Foreign Ministry said the initial … New York Times [story] demonstrated the ‘low intellectual abilities of U.S. intelligence propagandists.’ … Putin[] spokesman[] Dmitry Peskov[] called subsequent reports ‘hoaxes’ … damag[ing] the reputation of the media that publish them.  Russian officials spend a lot of time refuting allegations of malfeasance, from the poisoning of a former Russian spy […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why we need a little skepticism, and more evidence, on Russian bounties” – The Hill/ David B. Rivkin, Jr., George S. Beebe

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“… [1][H]ow credible are the sources? … not very. … militants and criminals captured and interrogated by Afghanistan’s government. … Captured militants frequently tell … interrogators things they hope … [bring] lenient treatment. Others relate … little more than hearsay. … [2][W]hat other information might support or disconfirm the allegations? …. [I]f the Times report of large financial transfers … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How Kremlin’s View of U.S.’s War in Afghanistan Has Shifted” – Wall Street Journal/ Alan Cullison

File Photo of U.S. NATO Troops Atop Ridge in Afghanistan

“Deteriorating U.S.-Russian ties adversely affect a once-shared goal, leading to a U.S. intelligence assessment of bounties paid to Taliban.” “For years … the U.S. and Russia shared a goal of deposing the Taliban government and hunting down its remnants …. [T]hat … crumbled … amid mutual suspicion and U.S. plans to leave Afghanistan with the Taliban undefeated. Today… [there is] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Intelligence officials cast doubt on Times’ Russia-Taliban bounty scheme: report” – New York Post/ Ebony Bowden

File Photo of U.S. NATO Troops Atop Ridge in Afghanistan

“Intelligence officials say a news report about Russia paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan does not match ‘verifiable’ Taliban activity and was never presented to … Trump because it was not deemed credible. The National Security Agency reviewed the claims contained in the New York Times report but found it did ‘not match well established and verifiable […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Return to Kabul? Russian Policy in Afghanistan” – David G. Lewis/ George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

Soviet Era Afghan Soldiers with Flag

“… Moscow has publicly supported the current U.S.-Taliban peace talks … [yet] has a very different perspective from the U.S. … influenced by geography and history. Russia’s current strategic posture is informed by a long history of relations with Afghanistan and above all … the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in 1979, a strategic and military failure … still fresh in […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian general warns of Central Asia ‘crisis’ by 2020” – Interfax

Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs

(Interfax – May 15, 2019) A senior Russian general has issued a warning about the worsening security situation in Central Asia, including in Afghanistan, suggesting the region could experience a crisis by next year. “In the Central Asia strategic zone there remains a steady tendency of a worsening military-political situation, which by 2020 is capable of reaching crisis-level significance,” Col-Gen […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Lessons for Leaders: What Afghanistan Taught Russian and Soviet Strategists ” – Russia Matters/ Simon Saradzhyan

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“… the Soviet leadership made a number of mistakes, first when contemplating whether to intervene in Afghanistan, then during the intervention and, finally, when withdrawing the troops. Some of these mistakes were particularly costly, such as the failure to take full stock either of the hierarchy of vital national interests at stake in Afghanistan or of the costs and benefits […]

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Do Trump’s Afghanistan Claims Mirror Moscow’s Rhetoric?

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – RM Staff – January 11, 2019 – russiamatters.org/blog/do-trumps-afghanistan-claims-mirror-moscows-rhetoric) Earlier this month, President Donald Trump offered his take on Soviet Russia’s experiences in Afghanistan as he argued in favor of a huge U.S. troop withdrawal and a larger contribution by Moscow to stabilize the war-racked country. The U.S. president put forward two basic propositions: that the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Challenges U.S. in Hosting Taliban at Afghan Talks” – Bloomberg/Henry Meyer, Eltaf Najafizada

File Photo of U.S. NATO Troops Atop Ridge in Afghanistan

“Russia is challenging the U.S. by hosting the Taliban at a Moscow peace conference in the latest source of friction …. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who pressed Russia to cancel a similar meeting in September, sent four senior members of his nation’s High Peace Council … * * * Russia, which backs Taliban demands for a pullout of American forces, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Reaches Out to Afghan Leaders for Taliban Talks, Angering Kabul” – Reuters

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“Russia has quietly invited a group of senior Afghan politicians to talks with the Taliban in Moscow, bypassing President Ashraf Ghani’s government in a move that has angered officials in Kabul who say it could muddle the U.S.-backed peace process. … confirmed … by six of the eight leaders, who include former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, or their aides, and […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Moscow Courts the Taliban” – Carnegie Moscow/Arkady Dubnov

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“… Despite all this, Russian diplomats considered the Taliban’s agreement to come to Moscow to be a success. Unofficial information from inside the Foreign Ministry indicates the great importance it attached to the Taliban leaders’ first official visit to Moscow. To guarantee their presence, the Russian government was willing to remove it from the list of organizations that are prohibited […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moscow Postpones Afghan Peace Talks; Decision comes after Afghan government declined an invitation to meet the Taliban” – Wall Street Journal/Jessica Donati and Ann Simmons

File Photo of U.S. NATO Troops Atop Ridge in Afghanistan

“Russia’s foreign ministry said … it has postponed a multilateral meeting on peace in Afghanistan after the Afghan government declined an invitation to meet the Taliban in Moscow. … The Taliban refused President Ashraf Ghani’s offer of a three-month cease-fire to coincide with the start of Eid al-Adha, a major Islamic holiday … officials say the insurgents have limited incentive […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Taliban Say They Will Attend Afghan Peace Talks in Russia” – New York Times/Rick Gladstone

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“… The Taliban’s acceptance of an invitation by Russia to … Sept. 4 talks planned in Moscow was a reversal for the group, and came after the government of Afghanistan and its main supporter, the United States, declined invitations to attend. … the Taliban said … that the chief of their political office in Qatar would lead a delegation to […]

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West, Russia ‘Share Interest’ In Afghan Stability, Top U.S. Commander Says

File Photo of U.S. NATO Troops Atop Ridge in Afghanistan

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 28, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/afghanistan-west-russia-share-interest-in-stability-top-u-s-commander-says/29197663.html) The West and Russia have a shared interest in Afghanistan’s stability, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has told RFE/RL. “We both share an interest in countering the terrorists who threaten our country and threaten Russia and threaten Central Asia,” General John […]

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Interfax: Lavrov warns U.S. against attempts to use extremists in Afghanistan as temporary allies

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW. May 31 (Interfax) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Washington that the use of extremists in Afghanistan as temporary allies may have dangerous consequences. “If this is another attempt to use extremists as temporary allies to achieve some goals and then hope to take these extremists under their control, then this is an absolutely shortsighted tactic, it has […]

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NEWSLINK: “Afghanistan: No Way Forward” – Valdai Club/ Anatol Lieven

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

‘As the Afghan state becomes increasingly fragile as a result of internal divisions and the resurgence of the Taliban, its future prospects remain bleak. US-Russian cooperation on the issue remains unlikely ….”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Gambles in Afghanistan – Again Moscow’s overtures with the Taliban risk destabilizing the region and antagonizing military superpowers” – Moscow Times/ Artemy Kalinovsky

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“… In recent weeks, senior U.S. military officials have accused the Russian government of providing support to the Taliban, the militant group still waging a bloody insurgency against the government in Afghanistan. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Challenging the U.S., Moscow Pushes Into Afghanistan. Russian inroads complicate U.S. efforts to strengthen the government, stamp out the Taliban and end America’s longest war.” – Wall Street Journal

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“#Russia is making fresh inroads into #Afghanistan that could complicate U.S. efforts to strengthen the fragile #Kabul government, stamp out the resilient #Taliban insurgency and end America’s longest war. Moscow last month disclosed details of contacts with the Taliban, saying that it is sharing information and cooperating with the radical movement … to fight the local affiliate of #IslamicState, which […]

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Interfax: Liquidation of Taliban leader to hinder negotiations in Afghanistan – Russian Foreign Ministry

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

MOSCOW. May 23 (Interfax) – The liquidation of Taliban movement leader Akhtar Mansoor will lead to further military escalation in Afghanistan, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “If this information is confirmed, it will seriously hinder the negotiating process,” Special Representative of the Russian President for Afghanistan, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second European Department Zamir Kabulov told Interfax. It […]

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NEWSLINK: “Tajiks fear weaker Russian presence will open the way for ISIS. Locals in Tajikistan are worried about the possible reduction of Russian servicemen in the country, as the Islamic State militant organization grows in strength in neighboring Afghanistan.” – RBTH/Gazeta.ru

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AFGHANISTAN TO SYRIA – the Russian game

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

Subject: AFGHANISTAN TO SYRIA – the Russian game Date: Wed, 10 Feb 2016 From: Andrei Liakhov <gaffriloff@yahoo.co.uk> AFGHANISTAN TO SYRIA – the Russian game I have tried hard to stay off JRL for a while. Too much to do and too much to travel. It does not mean that I was not involved in various Russia related situations. Syria was/is […]

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NATO transit through Russia still possible – envoy

NATO Meeting File Photo

(Interfax – Brussels, May 20, 2015) After the International Security Assistance Force completes its operation in Afghanistan, for which a simplified procedure of transit of freight was used, the interested countries will still be able to use the transit scheme in accordance with the general procedure, Russia’s permanent representative to NATO Aleksandr Grushko told Interfax. “I would like to note […]

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Putin Evokes Tolstoy 26 Years After Soviet Troops Pulled Out of Afghanistan

Soviet Era Afghan Soldiers with Flag

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 16, 2015) President Vladimir Putin marked the 26th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s withdrawal from Afghanistan Sunday, vindicating his country’s involvement in the Afghan War and praising novelist Leo Tolstoy’s moral teachings. “When years pass and more facts become known, we more clearly understand the reason why Soviet troops were sent to Afghanistan,” Putin […]

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Interfax: Afghan heroin has “killed” at least 500,000 Russians since 2000 – drug watchdog head

Map of Afghanistan and Environs

MOSCOW. May 15 (Interfax) – The director of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service, Viktor Ivanov, has said there have been at least 500,000 deaths in Russia caused by the use of Afghan heroin since 2000. “Over the past 14 years, since the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghan heroin has killed more than one million people in Eurasia, including at […]

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Interfax: Russia free to suspend NATO transit to Afghanistan across its territory – official

Map of Afghanistan and Environs

(Interfax – April 4, 2014) NATO’s decision to suspend cooperation with Russia gives Moscow the right to suspend NATO transit to Afghanistan across Russian territory, Federation Council Defense and Security Committee Chairman Viktor Ozerov said. “NATO is transporting armaments, military hardware and servicemen to Afghanistan across our territory. If our cooperation comes to a halt, we will have the right […]

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Interfax: NATO’s decision to suspend cooperation will harm Afghanistan – Russian envoy

File Photo of U.S. NATO Troops Atop Ridge in Afghanistan

(Interfax – April 2, 2014) NATO’s decision to suspend cooperation with Russia will harm Afghanistan, Moscow’s envoy to NATO has said. Interfax news agency quoted Aleksandr Grushko saying: “Above all, NATO’s decision will harm Afghans.” He said that the decision was counterproductive. “As a member of the international community, we carry particular responsibility for the preservation of international peace and […]

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Leaving Afghanistan

Map of Afghanistan and Environs

(opendemocracy.net – Artemy M. Kalinovsky – February 15, 2014) Artemy M. Kalinovsky is Assistant Professor of East European Studies at the University of Amsterdam and the author of A Long Goodbye: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan (Harvard University Press, 2011). Twenty five years ago today, Soviet General Boris Gromov oversaw the final withdrawal from Afghanistan. How will the International Security […]

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Turkmenistan: The Achilles Heel Of Central Asian Security

Map of Turkmenistan and Environs

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – February 16, 2014) Central Asian governments are already on heightened alert over the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan. This sense of alarm is almost certain to increase in coming months. But in Turkmenistan there does not seem to be the same concern heard in the neighboring Central Asian states. Ashgabat seems content to rely on […]

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Divided by Borders, Afghan War Veterans Face Differing Challenges

Map of Afghanistan and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – D. Garrison Golubock – February 14, 2014) On Feb. 15, 1989, the last Soviet military formations departed from Afghanistan, leaving behind a country they had occupied for more than nine years and where more than 14,000 of their comrades-in-arms had died. Twenty-five years later, the Soviet Union has long since ceased to exist, and the […]

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NATO refuses to cooperate with CSTO in fighting Afghan drugs for ideological reasons – Lavrov

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

(Interfax – December 18, 2013) Moscow stands for NATO-CSTO cooperation in Afghanistan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during the Government Hour at the Federation Council on Wednesday. “We think it would be useful to finally start practical cooperation between the CSTO and NATO,” he said. The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) give much […]

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Interfax: Afghanistan will pose drug threat for another century -FSKN director

Map of Afghanistan and Environs

MINSK/MOSCOW. Nov 29 (Interfax) – Russian Federal Drug Control Service Director Viktor Ivanov said Afghanistan may stay a source of large-scale drug trafficking for years ahead. “If no serious efforts are made by the world and the UN, all conditions and preconditions have been created for the prolongation of the large-scale drug production in the coming decades, if not a […]

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Interfax: NATO demonstrates touching care for “Afghan peasants” growing drug crops – FSKN chief

Map of Afghanistan and Environs

MINSK. Nov 28 (Interfax) – Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) Director Viktor Ivanov says that NATO has failed to contribute to the fight against Afghan illegal drug business. “We can say that the hopes the world pinned on NATO in the suppression of Afghan drugs were crushed,” Ivanov said at a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Coordination […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia Concerned at US Plans for Bases in Afghanistan

Allied Troops on High Ground Overlooking Afghan Valley

MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) ­ A senior Russian diplomat has voiced concerns over US plans to retain nine military bases in Afghanistan after their planned withdrawal from the country. Russia’s presidential envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, told RIA Novosti in an interview Wednesday that the bases would “exert a serious influence on the whole vast Asian region and become […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Afghanistan faces chaos

U.S. Troops Atop High Ridge in Afghanistan Looking Over Valley

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Andrei Ilyashenko, political analyst for Voice of Russia Radio, special to RBTH – November 5, 2013) With international forces leaving and an upcoming election looming in 2014, Afghanistan is looking at a very unstable future. On January 1, 2015, Afghanistan will say goodbye to the occupational armies of the United States and NATO, […]

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NATO Avoids ‘Costly’ Russian Transit Hub – Paper

NATO Meeting file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, August 15, 2013) A year after Russia opened a transit hub in Ulyanovsk to help in NATO’s pullout from Afghanistan, not a single alliance member has used it, a Russian newspaper said Thursday. “Russian authorities insisted, when opening the hub, that only Russian transport companies service its operations. And they hiked the prices so much that […]

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NATO Pullout From Afghanistan ‘Too Hasty’ – Russian Defense Official

Allied Troops on High Ground Overlooking Afghan Valley

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, August 14, 2013) ­ The intended pullout of the NATO-led forces from Afghanistan starting in 2014 is “too hasty,” Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister said Wednesday adding that Russia will reinforce its military bases in Central Asia ahead of the withdrawal. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which has been fighting the radical Islamist Taliban movement in […]

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Afghan heroin flow to Russia has grown – drug control service head

Map of Afghanistan and Environs

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 11, 2013) The director of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN), Viktor Ivanov, has confirmed an upsurge in smuggling Afghan heroin to Russia. “We see a larger flow of Afghan drugs to Russian territory. (Drug hauls) intercepted by our services in the first half of the year increased 1.5-2 times as compared with the same […]

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U.S. Transit Center will be shut down on schedule – Kyrgyz premier

Map of Central Asia, Including Commonwealth of Independent States Members

(Interfax – BISHKEK, July 9, 2013) Kyrgyz Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev has denied rumors claiming that the presence of the U.S. Transit Center at Manas International Airport near Bishkek could be prolonged. “These are just rumors. The government submitted a bill renouncing the agreement with the U.S. on the deployment of the Transit Center at Manas Airport to parliament. Parliament […]

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Afghanistan Focus For Better Ties with U.S. – Moscow

Allied Troops on High Ground Overlooking Afghan Valley

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 3, 2013) Russia-US relations could be improved through collaboration in Afghanistan, despite having suffered a difficult phase recently, a senior Russian MP and foreign affairs spokesman said on Monday. Mikhail Margelov, head of the international affairs committee at the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, made his comments after a meeting with […]

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Russia Aims to Boost Security Alliance in Central Asia

Map of Central Asia, Including Commonwealth of Independent States Members

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – May 29, 2013) Ahead of NATO’s planned withdrawal from Afghanistan next year, leaders of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization have pledged to pool their resources to counter any potential deterioration of the security situation in the region. In an effort to demonstrate the importance of the military alliance, President Vladimir Putin […]

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Interfax: Russia needs ‘clear and reliable’ missile defence guarantees

Missile Defense Control Room file photo

(Interfax – May 24, 2013) Russia needs “clear and reliable” guarantees that US missile defences will not be aimed against it and will take “military-technical” measures in response to their deployment, Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolay Patrushev has told Interfax news agency. “They will be taken as required, as the USA progresses in the creation of its missile […]

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Russian Intelligence Agency Warns of Rise in Terror Threat

Map of Afghanistan and Environs

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, May 23, 2013) ­ Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, expects the Taliban influence in Afghanistan to grow after international coalition forces are pulled out, while rising radicalism in Syria could lead to the country’s disintegration, the GRU chief said on Thursday. Lt. Gen. Igor Sergun said the situation in Afghanistan poses a “serious challenge to […]

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