- - Tuesday, December 29, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Russia will begin to ship small arms to the police force in Kabul in a major development in the history of Afghanistan, a conflict zone where thousands of Americans died and billions of American taxpayer dollars have been spent over the last decade in the fight against the Taliban. Along with recent reports that the Taliban are gaining ground in the fourteen year war with the United States, it seems the Russians also see a chance to reduce American influence in the region. Russia also stated it no longer sees the Taliban as they enemy and may even partner with them in the fight against the Islamic State.

According to the Russian state media, TASS, Russia will deliver to Afghanistan in January a batch of small arms for the police officers, said the Russian president’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Director of the 2nd Asia Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry Zamir Kabulov.

“At present, Russian agencies consider a number of corresponding requests from the Afghan side,” the presidential envoy said. “In particular, the issue of the supply of 10,000 AK-47 (assault rifles) with rounds to them through the Russian Interior Ministry has been practically decided. The batch is expected to be supplied in January 2016.

“Negotiations are currently underway on the commercial supplies of Russian helicopter equipment to Afghanistan,” he said.

“Russia has been consistently pursuing the policy of providing comprehensive assistance to Afghanistan in the establishment of a peaceful, independent, stable and self-sufficient state, free from terrorism and drugs,” Mr. Kabulov added. “We support the national reconciliation line of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. We are ready to flexibly approach the issues related to the possible weakening of the sanctions regime according to the U.N. Security Council’s Resolution 1988 against the Taliban, if it is not contrary to the national interests of Afghanistan.”

In a more startling development, in regards to the Taliban, the Russian envoy stated, “The interests of the Taliban in the fight against the Islamic State [terrorist organization] in Afghanistan are in line with Russian objectives.”


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