[Ed. – It’s a strategy. It’s cynical and calculating, to be sure. But unlike Obama’s anti-strategic approach, it has a logical objective and method. WSJ says Russia will complicate the U.S. policy, which is the superficial way of looking at it. But if our policy in Afghanistan has amounted to NOT fighting ISIS, while trying vainly to both stymie the Taliban and cooperate with it — well, the hell with that. It was imbecilic to have such a policy in the first place. What needs correcting here is not what Moscow is doing, but what Washington is doing.]
Russia is making fresh inroads into Afghanistan that could complicate U.S. efforts to strengthen the fragile Kabul government, stamp out the resilient Taliban insurgency and end America’s longest war.
Moscow last month disclosed details of contacts with the Taliban, saying that it is sharing information and cooperating with the radical movement on strategy to fight the local affiliate of Islamic State, which has gained a foothold in eastern Nangarhar province, on the border with Pakistan.
Moscow’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Alexander Mantytskiy, and other Russian officials said the cooperation with the Taliban didn’t include supplying it with money or materiel. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid described the relationship as “just political.”
But the revelation coincides with other Russian moves in Afghanistan that appear aimed, as in the Middle East and Europe, at undermining U.S. influence and seeking regional parity with Washington.