Commander of U.S. Forces in Europe: Russia may be helping supply Taliban insurgents

Commander of U.S. Forces in Europe, General Curtis Scaparrotti speaks during a news conference in Tallinn, Estonia, March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

Moscow may be helping supply Taliban militants. According to Reuters, The top U.S. general in Europe said on Thursday that he had seen Russian influence on Afghan Taliban insurgents growing.

“I’ve seen the influence of Russia of late – increased influence in terms of association and perhaps even supply to the Taliban,” Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, who is also NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

He did not elaborate on what kinds of supplies might be headed to the Taliban or how direct Russia’s role might be.

Russian officials have denied they provide aid to the insurgents. ┬áBut Taliban officials have told Reuters that the group has had significant contacts with Moscow since at least 2007, adding that Russian involvement did not extend beyond “moral and political support.”

They say their limited contacts are aimed at bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table. According to U.S. estimates, government forces control less than 60 percent of Afghanistan. Almost half the country is either contested territory or under control of the insurgents.

“NATO and the United States, in my view, must win in Afghanistan,” ┬ásaid Gen. Scaparrotti.

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