Top U.S. general in Afghanistan sees Russia sending weapons to Taliban





By Idrees Ali

KABUL (Reuters) - The head of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan said on Monday he was "not refuting" reports that Russia was providing support, including weapons, to the Taliban.

General John Nicholson was speaking in Kabul during a visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

For some time, American officials have complained of what Nicholson once called "malign influence" by Russia in Afghanistan, but Monday's comments are among the strongest suggestions yet that Moscow is providing arms to the Taliban.

Asked about reports that Russia was providing a range of help, including weapons, to the Taliban, who control large areas of Afghanistan, Nicholson replied: "Oh no, I am not refuting that."

Moscow has been critical of the United States over its handling of the war in Afghanistan, where the Soviet Union fought a bloody and disastrous war of its own in the 1980s.

Russia has previously denied providing any material or financial aid to the insurgent group, but has said it maintains ties with Taliban officials in order to push for peace negotiations.

A senior U.S. military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters that intelligence showed that Russia was providing monetary and weapons support to the Taliban, specifically weapons such as machine guns.

The supply of weapons has accelerated in the past 18 months, the official said.

Mattis, visiting Afghanistan for the first time as President Donald Trump's defense secretary, said that "any weapons being funneled here from a foreign country would be a violation of international law."

As recently as late last month, on a visit to London, Mattis had declined to say whether Russian aid had included weapons.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali; editing by Ralph Boulton and Ian Geoghegan)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Hands off US election, ex-CIA director says he warned Russia
Hands off US election, ex-CIA director says he warned Russia

WASHINGTON (AP) - Former CIA Director John Brennan told Congress Tuesday he personally warned Russia last summer against interfering in the U.S. presidential election and was so concerned about Russian contacts with people involved in Donald Trump's campaign that he convened top counterintelligence officials to focus on them.

The Latest: Senate panel narrows Flynn document request
The Latest: Senate panel narrows Flynn document request

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on investigations into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. election (all times local):

Flynn rejects Trump-Russia probe subpoena; Dems say he lied
Flynn rejects Trump-Russia probe subpoena; Dems say he lied
  • World
  • 2017-05-23 00:10:42Z

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in rebuffing a subpoena Monday in the investigation into Russia's election meddling. Then a top House Democrat cited new evidence he said appeared

Trump asked two intel chiefs to deny Russia collusion: report
Trump asked two intel chiefs to deny Russia collusion: report

President Donald Trump asked two top US intelligence officials in March to help push back against the FBI investigation into his campaign's possible links with Russia, The Washington Post reported Monday. In the newest report suggesting the White House sought to tamp down the Russia probe, the Post said Trump urged National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers and to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to publicly deny any evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russia during last year's presidential election.

Ex-Trump aide Flynn defies Senate subpoena in Russia probe
Ex-Trump aide Flynn defies Senate subpoena in Russia probe
  • World
  • 2017-05-22 22:55:52Z

Elijah Cummings, the senior Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said Flynn failed to report to Pentagon investigators payments he received from Russian bodies or attending a gala with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a gala in Moscow.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Europe

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.