NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe has said that Russia may be helping to supply Taliban militants that are fighting Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed government.
U.S. Army General Curtis Scaparrotti told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on March 23 that he has seen evidence of increasing Russian efforts to influence the Taliban “and perhaps even to supply” the militant group.
Scaparrotti, a four-star general who previously served as the director of the Joint Staff and the commander of U.S.-led international forces in Afghanistan, did not specify what types of supplies he thought Russia might be providing the Taliban.
Russian officials have denied providing aid to Taliban fighters.
Taliban officials have told Reuters they have had significant contacts with Moscow since at least 2007 but said Russian involvement did not extend beyond “moral and political support.”
U.S.-led forces have been battling the Taliban since driving them and their Al-Qaeda allies out of power following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States.