Chaos, Not Taliban, Main Danger in Afghanistan, Moscow Military Expert Says

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(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, Aug. 25, 2021) It is a mistake to see the Taliban and even a Taliban government as the main dangers emanating from Afghanistan, Ivan Konovalov says. The main danger is chaos, something likely because the Taliban is far from a well-organized and disciplined force and is far from being in control of […]

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FSU Analysts Assess the Impact of Events in Afghanistan on Russia and U.S.-R.F. Relations

File Photo of Kabul, Afghanistan, Residential Area, adapted from image at defense.gov

The perspectives of Russia’s non-government Middle East experts on … the Taliban and its impact on Russia appear to be more varied than those of Russian diplomats and … other official counterparts. [This post] compiled a selection of such views, along … [those of some] Western FSU watchers […]

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RUSSIALINK: “As Chaos Engulfs Kabul, Russia Says It’s Ready to Work With the Taliban” – Moscow Times

Afghanistan houses aerial view, adapted from image at state.gov

Moscow has a history of pragmatism toward the Islamist militia and appears well placed for a transition in Afghanistan. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Felix Light, Pjotr Sauer – Aug. 16, 2021) In the day since a Taliban offensive swept away the U.S.-backed Afghan government, Russian officials are taking satisfaction from their principle global adversary’s humiliation as they prepare to […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov: We can’t talk about eradicating terrorism in Afghanistan in near future” – Interfax

Afghanistan houses aerial view, adapted from image at state.gov

(Interfax – Aug. 12, 2021) Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov, who is responsible for international anti-terrorist cooperation, has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about interaction with the United States on counterterrorism, the activity of ISIL, which is banned in Russia, and other terrorist organizations in Syria and Afghanistan. He also said that it is impossible […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: No one thinking of invading Afghanistan” – Interfax

Soviet Era Afghan Soldiers with Flag

(Interfax – July 21, 2021) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has given an interview to Interfax, in which he commented on leaks in Western media regarding a German-U.S. agreement on the Nord Stream 2 project. He also said that Russia does not plan to deploy its troops in Afghanistan and deliver pinpoint strikes on terrorists there. He also denied reports […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. commander says evidence hasn’t corroborated intelligence of Russian bounties on U.S. troops” – The Hill/ John Bowden

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“The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan says … he has not seen evidence to corroborate claims that Russian officials placed bounties on U.S. troops … in the Middle East. … Gen. Frank McKenzie said … reports in The New York Times and other media … indicating that U.S. intelligence officials were investigating reports that Russia was offering bounties to Taliban […]

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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: “The U.S. must respond forcefully to Russia and the Taliban. Here’s how.” – Washington Post/ John W. Nicholson

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

“… Russia’s alliance with the Taliban, while calibrated in the past, is designed to undermine the success of the U.S.-led peace process and to erode the will of the United States, NATO and the Afghan people. Our leaders have a moral responsibility to protect our service members who are fighting for an enduring peace in Afghanistan, to honor the sacrifices […]

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

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“… 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

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“… 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: “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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What Does Russia Want In Afghanistan?

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… Trump tweeted that the intelligence reports were not deemed credible and the Kremlin and the Taliban have rejected reports alleging that officers of the GRU – Russia’s foreign military intelligence — either paid or offered money for killing American soldiers […]

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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

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(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

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“… 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?

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(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

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“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

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“… 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

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“… 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

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‘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

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“… 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

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“#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

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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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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

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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

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(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

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(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

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(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

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(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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