Russia ready to join fight against Islamic State in Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan -- Afghan National Air Corp MI-35 helicopters take off in a formation practice for the aerial parade in the upcoming Afghan National Day in Kabul. Air Force mentors assigned to Defense Reform Directorate Air Division under Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan provide guidance to soldiers with the Maintenance Operations Group for the ANAC. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Cecilio M. Ricardo Jr.)

The Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan, has announced that Moscow is ready to respond to Afghanistan’s request for military aid.

In a Wall Street Journal article, a little over a week ago, Ambassador Mantytskiy stated that Moscow would provide “some assistance.” He said this would not mean that “any soldier from the Russian Federation will be here on Afghan soil.”

“Why should we carry the burden of a problem that was not solved by the Americans and NATO countries?” Mantytskiy added.

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani has asked for artillery, small arms and Mi-35 helicopter gunships. Russian officials say the deterioration of security in Afghanistan is making it easier for Islamic extremists to get closer to its borders, and over time they worry it could lead to destabilization in Central Asia.

Meantime, Washington says it will keep 5,500 troops in Afghanistan after January 2017.  While the US is still Afghanistan’s biggest backer, most troops have been pulled out of the country. 10,000 are stationed there now. In 2010-11 there were 100,000 troops. Since the 2001 invasion to topple the Taliban, the US has spent more than $109 billion on the country’s reconstruction. But along with the significant troop withdrawal there’s also been a big reduction in financial aid.

In the wake of the Western drawdown, Afghans are hoping that Russia will come back a “friendlier ally” and provide support financially and militarily.

“Just like Syria, Kabul needs the support of Russia,” said Ramzan Kadyrov- a pro-Kremlin leader of Russia’s Chechen Republic. Russia launched an air war in Syria last month to give ally, Bashar al-Assad, support in his fight against ISIS. It has also forged a new alliance with Iran and Iraq.

The US and Russia’s relationship has been strained for some time over Ukraine and Middle East policies (the U.S. has ended purchase of Russia’s Mi-17’s) and a renewed competition has begun to take shape.

U.S. lawmakers prohibit contracting with Rosoboronexport, a Russian arms exporter. Kabul now wants a separate deal with the company for Mi-35’s, according to the WSJ. Government officials say they hope Moscow will donate the equipment.

According to Amb. Mantytskiy, Russia has already helped Afghan forces with 63 helicopters.
The Afghans say they need more air support to “reverse the gains” of Taliban fighters — who briefly captured the northern city of Kunduz last month.

President Vladimir Putin said that up to 7,000 people from former Soviet Republics have joined the ranks of Islamic State in the Middle East, and Afghanistan has become a very big concern.  Russia has reportedly sent additional military hardware to Tajikistan – a neighbor of Afghanistan- where Russia maintains a ground force.

Tajikistan has sent reinforcements to its southern borders in response to heavy fighting in border Afghan provinces, the WSJ reports.


  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

Post navigation