Saturday, Apr 29, 2017

Russia refutes claims of interfering in Afghanistan's affairs

KABUL (AFP): The Russian Embassy in Kabul on Monday rejected reports of Moscow’s support of the Taliban and said the claims were groundless.  

In a statement issued by the embassy, they said, “The Embassy of the Russian Federation notes the continuing series of groundless accusations against Russia about alleged support of the Taliban movement by Moscow.” “It is surprising that statesmen, deputies and high-ranking police officers based on rumors and conjectures and without providing the public any evidence allow themselves to publicly make irresponsible accusations against Russia in financing and supporting terrorism.”

The embassy named numerous reports and stated they were baseless. Among the mentioned reports was the most recent that claimed a high-ranking Russian delegation had visited a Taliban base in Waziristan in Pakistan as well as earlier reports that with Russia’s help, bases had been set up along the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border to service and repair the armor and vehicles of the Taliban.

Russia rejected all these claims and said in their statement that, “A staged campaign of the so-called black PR people is clearly visible who are quite professionally able to distract from the failures of their own employers and divert attention to a non-existent enemy.” “The Embassy of the Russian Federation in Afghanistan once again emphasizes that all accusations of financial and logistical support of the Taliban movement are simply not true and at the present difficult stage of finding ways to establish a peace process such actions of black PR people are counterproductive.” They said they found it strange that no photographic or audio visual evidence of these claims had surfaced, nor that any satellite images were available to back up the claims.

They said, “Russia makes an important contribution to the collective fight against terrorism in Afghanistan; provides gratuitous assistance to equip the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) with weapons and ammunition; and organizes training of the Afghan law enforcement agencies' employees on the basis of Russian specialized institutions.”

Their statement also noted the number of scholarships provided to Afghans each year, particularly through Russia’s Ministry of Interior. This comes after Russia has in recent months been accused of making new inroads into Afghanistan especially after their December meeting with the Taliban. At the time, Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced that it was sharing intelligence and cooperating with the Taliban to fight Daesh in Afghanistan.

Last month, United States Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, who is also NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said at a U.S Senate hearing that he had seen Russian influence on Afghan Taliban insurgents growing. He said, “Russia may be supplying Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.” “I've seen the influence of Russia of late - increased influence in terms of association and perhaps even supply to the Taliban,” Scaparotti said.

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