Sunday, 13 August 2017

Kyle Orton: Iran and Russia Are Using the Taliban Against the West

Kyle Orton: Iran and Russia Are Using the Taliban Against the West

"Russia first admitted they were supporting the Taliban in December 2015, allegedly to contain the Islamic State in Khorasan (IS-K). Moscow maintained connections to various factions in Afghanistan even after its withdrawal in 1989. Though relations with the Taliban were testy for much of the 1990s, there were efforts by the Taliban to “stabilize” relations via Saddam Husayn. The Coalition in Afghanistan has complained of Russia extending political legitimacy to an intransigent Taliban and Russia has also opened up training camps for the Taliban in Tajikistan. Last month, convincing evidence was uncovered of Russian weaponry being transferred to the Taliban.

It is likely that the Russia gambit is what sealed Mansour’s fate: it gave Mansour options that some in Pakistan saw as a threat to their control of the insurgency in Afghanistan. Moscow is indeed thinking along these lines, of displacing Pakistan, which still remains (officially) in the Western column, as the major sponsor of the Taliban, and therefore making itself the address the West has to call on to make peace in Afghanistan. For this reason, elements in Islamabad were even forthcoming with information about Mansour to the Americans."

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