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U.S. general: Russia possibly supporting Taliban in Afghanistan

By
Andrew V. Pestano
Afghan security officials inspect the scene of a suicide bomb attack October 10 at a police station in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of restive Helmand province, Afghanistan. U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who also serves as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, told the Senate Committee on Armed Services on Thursday that Russia may be giving material support to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Russia dismissed the accusations. File Photo by Watan Yar/EPA
Afghan security officials inspect the scene of a suicide bomb attack October 10 at a police station in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of restive Helmand province, Afghanistan. U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who also serves as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, told the Senate Committee on Armed Services on Thursday that Russia may be giving material support to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Russia dismissed the accusations. File Photo by Watan Yar/EPA

March 24 (UPI) -- U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the top U.S. general in Europe, told the Senate Committee on Armed Services that Russia may be giving material support to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Scaparrotti, who serves as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, told the Committee on Thursday that Russia's role in Afghanistan seems to be growing.

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Though Scaparrotti did not elaborate on what type of equipment Russia could be sending to the Taliban, he said any type of material support is a significant escalation of Russia's ties with the Tailban.

Scaparrotti said the connection between Russia and the Taliban goes past limited communications, as the Kremlin has said.

"I've seen the influence of Russia of late, increased influence in terms of association and perhaps even supply to the Taliban," Scaparrotti said.

Zamir Kabulov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Second Asian Department, called Scaparrotti's comments "absolutely false."

"This does not even merit any reaction, since these statements are fabrications designed to justify the failure of the U.S. military and politicians in the Afghan campaign, we cannot find any other explanation," Kabulov said.

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