Two Perspectives on the Conflict in Afghanistan

Russia and the U.S. see the situation differently – as they must.

|March 30, 2018

By Allison Fedirka

With all the talk of Washington’s expelling Russian diplomats, it’s easy to overlook Afghanistan, an area in which Russia and the United States have butted heads for years. The list of things that confound their cooperation there is long, but perhaps no issue is more important now than the Islamic State.

The United States and Russia have profoundly different views on just how strong, and therefore what kind of threat, the Islamic State in Afghanistan poses. Russia’s foreign minister described it as “rather serious,” noting that the group’s ranks have swelled into the thousands, aided in part by an influx of foreign fighters. The United States disagrees. Washington understands that there is an IS presence in Afghanistan but maintains that most of the fighters were already in the country fighting for groups like the Taliban and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Washington says they simply fight under a new banner. The distinction may seem trivia

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