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Remember when America funded the Taliban against the USSR?


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Author Topic: Remember when America funded the Taliban against the USSR?  (Read 14 times)
Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: October 17, 2017, 10:28:20 pm »


from THE TIMES....

ANALYSIS: Moscow wants to undermine efforts to stabilise Afghanistan

By GILES WHITTELL | 12:01AM GMT - Monday, 16 October 2017

Since British troops left in 2014, the Taliban have retaken many parts of the country, defeating local forces which are crippled by corruption.  Photograph: Susannah Ireland.
Since British troops left in 2014, the Taliban have retaken many parts of the country, defeating local forces which are crippled by corruption.
  Photograph: Susannah Ireland.


RUMOURS that Russia is arming the Taliban have been circulating for six months but they are always denied by the Kremlin and have never been proved by its critics.

The oil shipments described to The Times by a Taliban treasurer are the missing piece of a puzzle that will infuriate western governments still trying to help to stabilise Afghanistan. In a country with scant reserves of its own, oil is currency. Russia has more than it can use or profitably sell, and it controls infrastructure for delivering oil to Afghanistan via its former central Asian satellites that can be easily revived.

The question is: why? There appear to be two explanations. Moscow sees an informal alliance with the Taliban as potentially useful, on the basis that its enemy's enemy is its friend. President Putin considers ISIS a threat to Russian interests from Syria to Vladivostok.

The Taliban, for their part, regard ISIS in Afghanistan not as an ally in the re-establishment of a theocracy but a rival for local power.

However, weakening ISIS through the Taliban would not by itself warrant such high-risk meddling. The oil shipments, easily converted to cash and then to weapons, serve the broader purpose of undermining western efforts to support the Afghan National Army and the gravely weakened regime of President Ghani.

Any tactic that helps Mr Putin's strategy of global mischief-making gets his vote. That this one turns the tables on the CIA, which made life miserable for Russian troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s, will only make it more attractive to the Kremlin.


https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/moscow-wants-to-undermine-efforts-to-stabilise-afghanistan-kp7lrshzd
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2017, 10:28:30 pm »


from THE TIMES....

Russia funds Taliban in war against NATO forces

By ANTHONY LOYD | 12:01AM GMT - Monday, 16 October 2017

Russia seems to be trying to undermine the Afghan army as part of a proxy war against the US and its allies. — Photograph: Parwiz/Reuters.
Russia seems to be trying to undermine the Afghan army as part of a proxy war against the US and its allies. — Photograph: Parwiz/Reuters.

KABUL — Russia is funding Taliban military operations against NATO in Afghanistan through a covert programme of laundered fuel sales, The Times has learnt from members of the Islamist group and Afghan officials.

Russian intelligence services are sending fleets of fuel tankers into Afghanistan through the Hairatan border crossing with Uzbekistan. From there, they are delivered free of charge to front companies operating on behalf of the Taliban. The arrangement allows about $2.5 million raised in cash from the sale of the fuel each month to be delivered directly to insurgent paymasters.

Russia has accelerated its support in recent months in an apparent attempt to bolster the Taliban against Islamic State. The trade has become part of the revived “proxy war” strategy against the US and its allies, which stretches across battlefields from Ukraine to Syria.

“We sell the fuel on and distribute the money directly to our commanders,” a Taliban treasurer from Ghazni province said. He had been authorised to speak to a journalist as part of the Taliban's efforts to advertise its relationship with international backers, in response to President Trump's decision in August to send 3,800 additional US troops and further funding to the Afghan government.

“Accepting money from the Russians is not something we like doing,” the Taliban treasurer said, “but it is necessary at this stage of our jihad.”

Moscow has been repeatedly accused by senior US officials of supporting the Taliban. “Russia does supply arms to the Taliban, and this, of course, is a violation of international norms and violation of the norms of the UN security council,” Rex Tillerson, the US secretary of state, said recently.

Yet the meetings with The Times were the first time the Taliban had publicly admitted to receiving Russian support. NATO has more than 13,000 troops still in Afghanistan, including up to 500 British soldiers, as part of Operation Resolute Support, which trains, advises and assists the Afghan government.


https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/russia-funds-taliban-in-war-against-nato-forces-hvfl3cgrg
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2017, 10:28:41 pm »


from THE TIMES....

Russian cash goes straight into the hands of Taliban chiefs

By ANTHONY LOYD | 12:01AM GMT - Monday, 16 October 2017

Afghan soldiers have recaptured some of the districts in Nad-e-Ali, Helmand, from Taliban militants this month. — Photograph: Watan Yar/European Pressphoto Agency.
Afghan soldiers have recaptured some of the districts in Nad-e-Ali, Helmand, from Taliban militants this month.
 — Photograph: Watan Yar/European Pressphoto Agency.


KABUL — Russia has stepped up its support of the Taliban in Afghanistan in recent months in an effort to stave off the rise of Islamic State but also to avenge its humiliating defeat by western-backed fighters nearly 30 years ago, according to Taliban officials.

One, a 23-year-old treasurer who is typical of a new youthful echelon of officials, explained how help from Moscow delivered cash into the hands of its commanders.

“The Russian fuel supplies began coming to us 18 months ago,” he told The Times. “At first it was just a few tankers to test the system. But then the numbers suddenly increased so that dozens were coming each month. The Russians give it all to us for free — we just pay the import duty and then keep the profits.”

Most of the fuel is sold on by Taliban front companies to businessmen in Kabul. The money is then transferred through the inscrutable “hawala” system used by terrorist groups and insurgents across the Islamic world.

“I just deal with the finances of a few Taliban commanders in one sector in one province,” the treasurer said. “I transfer them the money and then account for its distribution. But there are many other people like me.”

The fuel scheme was worth an estimated $2.5 million a month to the Taliban and was “one of many” methods of Russian funding to the group, he added. He agreed to be interviewed on the authority of a senior adviser to the Quetta Shura, the Taliban leadership based in Pakistan. The senior adviser was himself a former specialist bombmaker from Sangin who was involved in numerous operations against coalition and Afghan units before accepting a political role within the group.

Russia's presence in the region dates back to the 19th century when it began competing with Britain for influence in central Asia in what came to be known as the “Great Game”.

That first Great Game ended with the 19th century but in December 1979 Russian forces invaded Afghanistan in support of Kremlin loyalists. Thousands of Russian troops were killed by Afghan insurgents using weaponry supplied by the West and after a decade of fighting they withdrew. The last of their armoured columns crossed the Friendship Bridge into Uzbekistan over the Amu Darya river at Hairatan, the same bridge over which their supplies to the Taliban now pass.




The Kremlin's present support for the Islamist group accelerated when Islamic State established a foothold in Afghanistan in 2014. “The Russians are afraid that if we become weak then Islamic State will grow stronger in Afghanistan, which will be a big headache for them — and for us,” said the 37-year-old senior adviser, who asked that his identity be withheld. “So now it's about money, warm relations and weapons. Russia has lost its faith in this government to beat Islamic State. So the Taliban have become their default choice of ally.”

The adviser said he had met Hibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban's leader in Afghanistan, in Helmand six weeks ago. Akhundzada is well known in Taliban circles for organising prominent suicide attacks, including the one that killed Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former president of Afghanistan, in Kabul in 2011.

The adviser said that Russia was motivated in part by a wish to avenge its humiliation at the hands of western-backed mujahidin groups. “They have got three aims in dealing with us: defeat Islamic State, undermine the US-supported Afghan government and humiliate and hurt NATO,” he said.

US officials have accused the Russians of playing on a “false narrative” in supporting the Taliban against ISIS in Afghanistan. “We think it's really part of a dual-track policy to give the Russian an inroad with whichever power is in place pending a peace one day,” an American military official in Kabul said.

ISIS is thought to be responsible for less than 5 percent of the violence in Afghanistan but its presence has caused a paradigm shift among today's Great Game players. Iran, another traditional enemy of the Sunni insurgents, has also stepped up its supplies of weaponry to the Taliban, and Afghan intelligence officials tell of funerals held in Tehran of Iranian special forces advisers killed while assisting Taliban units in the west of the country.

The role of Pakistan, traditionally the Taliban's central regional ally, has also begun to shift after Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the group's leader, was killed by a US drone strike inside Pakistan in May last year while on his way back from a meeting in Iran.

American power was used to carry out the assassination but the Taliban accused Pakistan of treachery in revealing Mansour's position to the US. They claimed Islamabad's collusion in the hit was the result of Mansour's increasing desire for more independence from his Pakistani handlers.

The roles are changing but the modern Great Game's actors remain unchanged, as does one common plot line. This has become the longest war in American history, costing half a trillion dollars, and more than 150,000 lives on all sides have been lost — but peace remains as elusive today in Afghanistan as when Russian troops rolled away down the Friendship Bridge into Uzbekistan on February 15th, 1989.


https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/russian-cash-goes-straight-into-the-hands-of-taliban-chiefs-6cd7g0q2g
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2017, 10:29:36 pm »


Oooooops.....it looks like a classic case of “what goes around tends to come back around again!”

The Russians are now playing the same game with the Taliban against America that America played with the Taliban against the Soviet Union.

Amazing how things tend to go around in circles, eh?

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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2017, 06:39:04 pm »



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If you aren't living life on the edge, you're taking up too much space! 

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