The U.S. And Russia Are Now Clashing Over Afghanistan
Tensions between Russia and the U.S. are again flaring up in the Middle East, but this time it’s not about Syria or chemical weapons. Instead, the conflict is over a potential peace deal in Afghanistan that could bring an end to 16 years of war that has ravaged the country. The Kremlin is slated to hold a meeting Friday in Moscow aimed at brokering a resolution between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Washington has refused to attend, instead accusing Russia of arming Taliban fighters and undermining NATO’s efforts to bring peace and security to the region.
The meeting is the third peace summit held by Moscow since December. At the first, Moscow only invited China and Pakistan to the table, angering both Washington and Kabul. At the second, in February, it invited Afghanistan, but excluded the U.S. Now, finally invited to the talks, the Trump administration says it questions Russia’s motives.
Russia has denied giving weapons to Taliban fighters, while conceding that it did reach out to the militant group in its efforts to broker the peace deal. Russia has also called for an end to sanctions against Taliban leaders.
Russia’s relationship with the Taliban is of major concern to Washington. The Taliban controlled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 until the U.S.-led invasion that divided the nation. The militants now rule over roughly half of Afghanistan’s population and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has repeatedly urged Taliban leaders in recent years to agree to a peace deal. - More, Newsweek