Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

Is Russia Really Arming the Taliban?

< 1 min

The Atlantic, 25 August 2017

AAN’s Thomas Ruttig comments on whether Russia is involved in arming the Taliban:

Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, told me in an email that while Russia might be quite happy to see the 16-year-old U.S. mission in Afghanistan fail, tracking arms supplies to the militants is nearly impossible.

“Are there Russian contacts with the Taliban? Most likely,” he said. “This is  not that difficult to arrange, for anyone.”

Ruttig pointed out that many of Russian officials during the Soviet occupation are prominent players today, as well. “It seems clear that Russia would not be unhappy to see the U.S. and the West fail in Afghanistan—as they, in the USSR incarnation … failed there in the 1980s,” he said. But of the weapons the Russians are said to have supplied the Taliban, Ruttig said “Russian-made weapons of those calibers can be obtained in many places.”