Russia may be supplying the Taliban as they fight U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, a top U.S. military commander said Thursday.
" have seen the influence of Russia of late — an increased influence — in terms of association and perhaps even supply to the Taliban," General Curtis Scaparrotti, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander and U.S. Army General, told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
Scaparrotti did not elaborate on what kinds of supplies might be provided or how direct Russia's involvement could be.
His comments are built on suspicions raised last month by General John Nicholson, the U.S. commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, who testified that Russia is giving the Taliban encouragement and diplomatic cover. Nicholson did not, however, address whether Russia was supplying the terrorist group.
“Russia has been legitimizing the Taliban and supporting the Taliban,” he told VOA's Afghan service in an interview last month.
Russia, which had an ill-fated intervention in Afghanistan that started in 1979 and ended nearly a decade later, has been trying to exert influence in the region again and has set up six-country peace talks next week that exclude the United States.
VOA Afghan contributed to this report