Russia is supporting and supplying arms to the Taliban, Gen John Nicholson, the head of US forces in Afghanistan, told the BBC in an interview.

Nicholson, during the interview published on Friday, said he had seen "destabilising activity by the Russians", alleging that Russian weapons were smuggled across the Tajik border to the Taliban. He, however, did not say in what quantity.

"We see a narrative that's being used that grossly exaggerates the number of Isis [Islamic State group] fighters here," Gen Nicholson was quoted as saying by the BBC. "This narrative then is used as a justification for the Russians to legitimise the actions of Taliban and provide some degree of support to the Taliban."

"We've had stories written by the Taliban that have appeared in the media about financial support provided by the enemy," he added. "We've had weapons brought to this headquarters and given to us by Afghan leaders who said, 'This was given by the Russians to the Taliban' — we know that the Russians are involved."

Russian officials have previously denied providing aid to the militants, saying that their limited contacts were aimed at bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table.

Last year in March, the US media had reported that Russia was providing political legitimacy and military supplies to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

“American military officers see a growing Russian effort to bolster the Taliban’s legitimacy and undercut (the US and) Nato’s military effort there,” CNN had reported.

A spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry had rejected the claims as “absolutely false”, alleging that such announcements were “designed to justify the failure of the American political and military campaigns” in Afghanistan.

Opinion

Shifting politics
Updated 01 Mar 2021

Shifting politics

Beyond PTI’s fault lines the more consequential question is credibility of future elections.

Editorial

SC on Senate polls
Updated 02 Mar 2021

SC on Senate polls

THE Supreme Court has declared in its short order on the reference sent by the president under Article 186 of the...
02 Mar 2021

Khashoggi report

THE grisly 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate shocked people...
02 Mar 2021

Heritage trail

THE heritage trail project in central Punjab, inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday in Jhelum district,...
LNG deal
Updated 01 Mar 2021

LNG deal

PAKISTAN has clinched a good deal for the long-term supply of LNG from Qatar. Under the new contract, Qatar will...
01 Mar 2021

US Syria strike

IF the US is serious about mending fences with Iran, then firing missiles at fighters allied with Tehran in Syria ...
01 Mar 2021

Sri Lanka cremations

SRI LANKA has in a welcome move reversed its order that mandated all those dying of Covid-19 be cremated. The...