Russia denies US claims it is arming the Afghan Taliban

Russia denies US claims it is arming the Afghan Taliban
Moscow has denied it is arming the Taliban in Afghanistan after a US general claimed Russian arms were being supplied to the militants.
2 min read
25 March, 2018
US generals claim Russia is providing arms to the Taliban [Getty]

Russia has denied claims it is providing arms to the Taliban, following claims by a US general that Russian weapons are being used by the Afghan militants.

US and NATO General John Nicholson told the BBC last week that Russia was providing support and weapons to the Taliban.

"We've had weapons brought to this headquarters and given to us by Afghan leaders and said this was given by the Russians to the Taliban," Nicholson told the British broadcaster.

This brought an angry response from Russia who rejected the claims as "idle gossip", according to Reuters.

"Once again, we insist that such statements are absolutely baseless and appeal to officials not to talk nonsense," the Russian embassy in Kabul said in a statement.

A number of US commanders have complained that Russia is supporting the Taliban in their battle against the Kabul government and NATO forces.

The Taliban said it has contacts with Moscow, but Russia says these communications only relate to negotiations and consular matters.

Russia was embroiled in a bloody conflict in Afghanistan in the 1980s, when it was part of the Soviet Union with thousands of troops killed and as many as 2 million civilians massacred.

Factions of the US-backed Muhajadeen that fought the Soviet invaders eventually became the Taliban, and ruled over Afghanistan enforcing a strict and puritanical version of Islam.

A US-led NATO force overthrew the Taliban in 2001 but a fierce insurgency has been waged against the government since, which has intensified over the past year.