The top U.S. general in Europe said he believes Moscow is aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan, NBC News reports. During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday, Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti said the Russian role in the country is growing in influence, if not directly in military supplies. Scaparrotti is also NATO’s supreme Allied commander in Europe. He said, “I’ve seen the influence of Russia of late—increased influence in terms of association and perhaps even supply to the Taliban.” The Kremlin on Friday dismissed the allegation as a “lie,” according to Russian state-run media outlet, citing Foreign Ministry officials who said the allegation was nothing more than an attempt by Washington to cover up its own policy mistakes in the region. But Scaparrotti was not alone in his allegations: Gen. John Nicholson, who serves as the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, last month told the Senate committee that he believed Russia was trying to outright legitimize the Taliban through a false narrative that it was merely fighting ISIS. Nicholson said he had also received reports that the Kremlin was supporting the Taliban.
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