The Russians have claimed that they are in contact with the Taliban. If true, this would represent a significant shift by Russia. First, since its defeat in Afghanistan, Russia has sought to remain clear of the complexities of Afghanistan’s internal politics, usually succeeding. Second, having intervened in one area of American interest, Syria, maintaining contact with the Taliban would be an expansion of Russian activities, quite openly to another area. It would also be interesting from an Afghan point of view, where the Russian invasion in the 1980s is still remembered without fondness. Therefore, the Taliban’s involvement with Russian intelligence, while of value to both sides, would still potentially weaken the Taliban’s position in Afghanistan, as it would be seen as collaborating with a historical enemy.
The Afghan Taliban denied that they are sharing intelligence with Russia regarding their rival jihadist force, the Islamic State. While acknowledging that it was in negotia
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