Pointing Fingers

U.S. Accuses Russia of Secretly Arming the Taliban

Russia is covertly supporting the Taliban by supplying arms and equipment to the group, according to the head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. In an interview with the BBC, Gen. John Nicholson criticized “destabilizing activity” by the Kremlin and said Russian weapons were being smuggled to the Taliban across the Tajikistan border. “We’ve had stories written by the Taliban that have appeared in the media about financial support provided by the enemy. We’ve had weapons brought to this headquarters and given to us by Afghan leaders and said, this was given by the Russians to the Taliban,” he said. “We know that the Russians are involved.” He went on to say Russia has staged supposed counterterrorism exercises on the Tajik border and left “large amounts of equipment” behind, which he believes has ended up in the hands of the Taliban. Afghan police and military told the BBC the equipment includes night-vision goggles, medium and heavy machine guns and small arms. Russia has strongly denied providing equipment to the group.